Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will they tell me my life expectancy at my HIV/AIDS follow up?"
I'm trying to be realistic and get my affairs in order. Will I find out about how long I have to live?
15 years ago, when someone was diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, it was considered to be a death sentence by both the public and the physicians treating the patients. This is not the case today at all. While there are circumstances where the HIV virus can become drug resistant and result in AIDS and subsequently death, the vast majority of people have HIV infections which are controllable by medication. About 10 years ago, the infectious disease world discovered that you combined 3 different types of HIV medications together that you can control the infection for extended periods of time (now indefinitely). We call this combination of medication highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART is the short abbreviation). Today's medication combination are effective, easy to take, and have less side effects than they used to. In many ways, I would rather be diagnosed today with HIV than diabetes. As long as you are dedicated to taking all of your HIV medications as prescribed, no doctor will be able to tell you how long you will be able to live. This is because we have people that were diagnosed with HIV in the 80s that are still alive and have undetectable amounts of HIV in their blood. I think you will come away from your first consultation relieved and ready to face the rest of your life.
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