what is a slow progressor

Question

I have been living with HIV for a little more than six years. I have never taken meds or have had any illnesses associated with HIV. My Doctor seems to think I am a slow progressor or non-progressor. Does this mean I will never progress to AIDS or need medication?

Answer

A slow progressor demonstrates a slower than usual loss of CD4+ lymphocyte cells. There are slow progressors and there are really slow progressors. In fact, there is a continuum of human response to infection with HIV infection and some people on the extreme positive end of this spectrum will probably never need to be on medications. The term "elite controllers" has been used to describe people with HIV who have very low viral levels without treatment. Here is a link to an article from GMHC which discusses this group.