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Estimated Life Expectancy For HIV-Positive Men Is Greatest When HIV Is Diagnosed Early

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Published: Dec 6, 2011 2:26 pm
Estimated Life Expectancy For HIV-Positive Men Is Greatest When HIV Is Diagnosed Early

Results from a British study of HIV-positive men who have sex with men estimated a life expectancy of 75 years if HIV is diagnosed early, compared with 82 years for individuals without HIV. If HIV is diagnosed late, the researchers estimated life expectancy at 71.5 years.

The study authors noted that the decrease in life expectancy for HIV-positive men is comparable to the effect of cigarette smoking or having a chronic disease like diabetes.

“Men who have sex with men who are recently infected are estimated to have a good life expectancy, provided they are diagnosed early (and have good access to HIV care),” said Fumiyo Nakagawa, a researcher at UCL Medical School in London and lead author of the study.

“Our model has also estimated that life expectancy is further prolonged if the individual does not smoke, does not interrupt treatment, and has good adherence to treatment,” she added.

Life expectancy refers to the expected number of years of life remaining for an individual at a given age. In the general population, several factors, including sex, race, and lifestyle habits, are known to influence life expectancy. Various factors, like better drugs, earlier detection, and increased experience of physicians in treating HIV, are thought to contribute to increased life expectancy of people with HIV.

A Danish study published earlier this year found that HIV-positive individuals suffer from higher death rates mainly due to HIV and non-HIV related risk factors such as poor response to antiretroviral therapy, co-infection with hepatitis C or other diseases, and drug and alcohol abuse.

According to the study authors, most studies so far have based life expectancy estimates on current death rates in people with HIV. Since drugs’ ability to suppress the amount of HIV in the blood have improved over time, and since therapy benefits on death rates may take years to fully take effect due to slow increases in CD4 (white blood cell) counts, life expectancy for HIV-positive people may have been underestimated.

In this study, researchers used a computer simulation model of HIV infection and the effects of antiretroviral therapy to estimate life expectancy for a man who has sex with men and who becomes HIV positive in 2010 at the age of 30 years old. They also attempted to determine how life expectancy varied depending on how early or late HIV was diagnosed. For comparison, the researchers used general population death rates for men in the United Kingdom for 2009.

The model assumed that a man with HIV would start a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based regimen, then switch to a boosted protease inhibitor-based regimen in the case of virologic failure.

The likelihood of treatment interruption was assumed to be 1.5 times higher in individuals with lower treatment adherence. Based on results from previous studies, a 1.5-fold increase in risk for all non-AIDS deaths was assumed for men with HIV throughout life.

Researchers also assumed a 40 percent chance of being a smoker and no hepatitis C co-infection.

Results showed that in a society with a high rate of HIV diagnosis, in which HIV was likely to be diagnosed soon after infection, the median age of death was estimated to be 75 years old. Risk of death within five and 10 years after infection was 2.3 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. In addition, 57 percent, 78 percent, and 97 percent of men were diagnosed by three, five, and 10 years after infection, respectively.

Under this model, the median time from infection to diagnosis was 2.8 years, and the median CD4 cell count at diagnosis was 432 cells per microliter. In addition, the average time from infection to starting antiretroviral therapy was almost six years. Individuals were estimated to spend an average of 39 years on treatment, of which all but roughly seven years were spent actually receiving antiretroviral therapy (as opposed to periods of interrupted treatment).

The chance of treatment interruption at least once during an individual’s lifetime was estimated at 85 percent. Estimated life expectancy increased by 1.5 years when it was assumed that no treatment interruptions occurred.

It was estimated that 41 percent of individuals will at some stage progress to AIDS. However, only 14 percent of deaths were predicted to be from AIDS-related illnesses, and only 10 percent of men predicted to die of AIDS were also predicted to have resistance to all three major antiretroviral drug classes (nucleoside-reverse transcriptase inhibitors, NNRTIs, and protease inhibitors) plus integrase inhibitors.

Results also showed that in a society with a low HIV diagnosis rate, in which HIV was diagnosed only when symptoms were present, life expectancy for HIV-positive men who have sex with men was 71.5 years, indicating that an average of 10.5 years of life were lost compared to people without HIV.

With a low diagnosis rate, the median CD4 count was 140 cells per microliter at diagnosis; 22 percent, 37 percent, and 74 percent of individuals were diagnosed with HIV within three, five, and 10 years after infection, respectively. Consequently, there was a higher risk of death within 10 years after diagnosis (13 percent compared to 5.2 percent with a high diagnosis rate).

However, the effect of late diagnosis on life expectancy after this time was less significant due to the long-lasting effects of antiretroviral therapy, even in those who start treatment when CD4 cell counts are low.

The researchers estimated that the effect of late diagnosis would be greatest in the first 15 to 20 years after infection. Late diagnoses also increased the probability of transmitting HIV to others because lack of treatment increases risk of HIV transmission.

For more information, please see the study in the journal AIDS (abstract).

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38 Comments »

  • James F, Barry said:

    Oh, NO……….Are you telling me both my Doctors and my Mother are right??????….NOOOOOOOOO……..LOL..Kidding aside…(they both said I’d live to be old and grey)…this is good news…..=0)

  • me with hiv said:

    Well heres my story,
    I found out i had hiv in 1993. I dont know when i got it maybe then or maybe a a year or 2 b4
    My t cells were in the mid 600′s there were no viral load tests then… i took azt and triedd ddi which i couldnt tolerate my tcells stayed in the 600-1200 range. I was off and on medication and didnt really adhere but my viral load test in 1999 went to about 30k so i started trizivir or was it tricor ( soory its hard to keep track after so long) ….cd4 stayed in 800-1200 range viral load 1000 to 3000
    in 2005 i switched doctors and he gave me rayataz epzicom and norvir
    no viral load and again t cells 800 to 1200 ..this has been stable for 6 years
    so now come fall 2011 my viral load went from undetectable tto 40 copies
    now its february 2012 tcell at 1063 but viral load went up to 290 copies so last night doctor calls me that I had a resistant test done and found out i have become resistant to novir and all the nnrt drugs …so im pretty nervous cant see any doctor til monday because mine went out of town til wed… great thing to hear on the phone and then my doctor leaves town… The good thing is basically for 20 years ( I know I was not 100% adherence sometimes i just plain forgot ..20 years every day it happens) i have had a good immune system with great cd4 and very low viral loads and no side effects but now im worried about the resistant and what will happen because the drugs fail… so im reading all these articles today because i dont know whats left to take even though right now my immune system is normal…. i never thought i see the year 2000 let alone 2012 but im still alright so i hope those studies are true…
    I havent really thought about having hiv for a while because the drugs were working and you will be a nervous wreck if you think about it everyday but now i am scared again so im telling my story

  • happy :) said:

    hi,

    pls keep in touch with me, coz im newly diagnosed with HIV,

    i want to here from you guys,

    what action did you do and follow to stay as normal person.

  • Will pray said:

    I just said a prayer for all of you….You will be okay!

  • Hope, friends! said:

    To “me with hiv”…

    Hey man, don´t worry. You have a tcell rate on 1063 and viral load on 290 copies. That´s just awesome. Lots of non-hiv-infected people have less tcells than you have. Ok, you have some resistence to nnrt drugs. But… There are other antirretroviral “families” which the virus you carry is not resistent yet (now we have this relative new antiretroviral family, the fusion inhibitors, and Maraviroc, a CCR5 protein inhibitor).

    Besides, there are plenty of new medicinal strategies to control better the virus being tested in so many labs around the world. The prognosis for HIV today is the best we ever had since the epidemic appeared, around 30 years ago. Some therapeutical vaccins are being developed, some new drugs, genetical therapies, and I heard about a machine who can actually “filter” hiv from blood, just like hemodialisys, which is being developed in the United States. Ok, we know that some strategies from the past failed to provide us with cure or something near it. But now we are exponentially increasing our knowledge about HIV, and really nice strategies are rising. The faith on cure (or, at least the functional cure, i.e, the total and absolute control of the virus with the use of drugs with really low or non-existing toxicity) is needed, and today more than anytime in the history has its reason to be, and cannot be considered a “self-delusion” or a “lie to comfort the heart”. At least the functional cure is coming, and science today kind of “allow” us to believe it!

    What I´m trying to say is: You have awesome tcells and viral load rates, and my opinion is that you have all the reasons not to be scared. Wait for your doctor to come back in town. I´m sure he will tell you very good stuff. You are already a winner. 20 years infected and your tcells/viral load are SO GOOD, man! I´m sure you will live plenty more than 20 years. I believe in science, and I also believe in God. May you have peace of mind and heart. The same for all the hiv-positive people who are reading my words: fight, for the victory of mankind over this tiny virus is coming!

    Peace and good. God Bless you!

  • Winston said:

    Hi Hope, you are awesome…………i feel the energy after reading what you had wrote…………

  • Hope, friends! said:

    Hey, Winston!

    I don´t know if you´re hiv+ or not, but if you are, keep the peace inside you! I´m sure that things will get better! They are already getting, in fact! So many medicines being tested with good possibilities, researches discovering “weak points” of the virus (proteins that don´t change with the HIV’s mutations), vaccines, blood filters, medicines against viral reservoirs, medicines who will “boost” the immunological system to destroy the viruses… I trully believe (based on the actual research) that the next years will bring us good news. If not the definitive cure, at least better medicines who will , forever and ever, end up the risk of AIDS evolution (and, of course, death by it) and end up the risk of spreading the disease.

    It´s too bad so many people died because of this disease in the early 80´s and 90′s, but nowadays things are really different! Even the medicine existing today is effective to approach the hiv+’s life expectancy to hiv-’s life expectancy. So, to all hiv+ reading me: I know that having the virus may not be a “comfortable” thing, but you need to be strong and, most of all, you need to be peaceful and away from any depression. I know It´s easy to say, but it´s important to improve your immunological system. And like this, you´ll be healthy and strong when the new medicines come out.

    Peace and good, God Bless you!

  • hidden helper said:

    hi every one . hidden helper is my nick name . i am from third world . I think i am hiv positive man . but not tested yet . i had unprotected oral sex with a sex worker 6 years ago . after 4 years later I started to think that I m infected . This doubt made me very worry . unfortunately my lymph nodes became swell. Than I became sure that I m HIV positive . But its not tested. I m trying to test and make a relation with hiv positive groups, institution and other who can suggest me and help me . But they are not remain on touch. In my country HIV positive are very hated . Nobody want to expose and i want so .I think that my writing is not good . But please suggest .

  • Benitaly said:

    Dear all. I hope you are all well. I am currently awaiting my test results. I had to retake them since the firts result was a “false pisitive”. I am so terrified of it, especially sibce I have always been. Sry careful when it comes to sex. I have currently a rash over my body, two weeks ago I had a terrible fever with strong headaches. Did enyone of you have this ichy rush over your bodies too? I know that life goes on even if I will be positive. I will have to make the most of it and enjoy every single day to the best possible way. I am scared of my family reaction, but God will help me. Please let me know if someone of you had this rush too. Big hug from Italy. X

  • Matt said:

    Hi,

    I just got my results today and unfortunately they came out positive. For me it all started over the festive season when I got too drunk and had oral sex with someone(I didn’t think it was that risky), but yeah after life was all good, I was healthy and all until in March when after years(almost 10), of not having flu I got flu from hell. . . I was in bed for 3 days, I’d get to work and ppl wud tell me to go home coz I didn’t look fine. The flu went on for 2 weeks until I decided to travel back to my parents. I stayed there for 2 days, food smelled horrible(I hate McDs bcoz of that time). I then came back to my place, and I started seeing blood in my urine, that’s when I knew something had gone wrong.I did a few tests and was asked to come back for a viral load, I never went back(I was scared). End of April I went to the Dr again coz I had flu blisters, a different Dr this time coz I couldn’t face my old Dr. She sat me down and told me that based on what’s in my medical file and lymph nodes and flu blisters and feeling tired all the time, she recommends that I do an HIV test. I went in last thursday I did that and I got my results this morning. Am I mad at myself that it happened? Yes definitely. But the truth is at this point there is nothing I can do but to focus and get my counts and loads done and eat and live healthy and hope for no complications.

    I at the same time am not saying that if you have all the above symptoms be worried, I’m just saying get tested and worry over something u r sure of. I was worried all this time that it might be lymphoma only to find its HIV, and what scare most people is the stigma around the virus. I’m 26 and I’m gonna maintain a positive attitude.

    Thanks to everyone for the comments and especially the Drs and everyone involved in the research, it makes life with HIV a lil more worth living.

    To my friend who is having resistance, I would have loved to keep in contact with you, my life is about to take a turn now. Wud have loved to meet up as I start my world travel next year.

    May God Bless you guys and thanks again for the comments.

    *phewwww* I just feel like I typed a book

  • jose said:

    hey guys my name is Jose and i was just diagnosed with hiv+ I’m really scared for my family and my girlfriend because i love them very much. i hope I’ll be okay pray for me and God bless you all.

  • d in GA said:

    Hi to everyone, I am hiv positive male I contracted hiv about 14 years ago went untreated/undiagnoised for the first 8 years till I had pnemonia in one of my lungs. When I was diag. my cd counts was around 100 dont remember my viral but it was pretty average like around 20000 or so. I started on atriple (1 pill a day) 7 years ago. My cd 4 counts stays around 300-400, and my viral is always undetectible. Life is like a roller coaster as for all im sure, ups and downs, when im up life is good, but when i get sick that fear comes to haunt me again. I take life day by day I have a wonderful lover of 5yrs now, he is negative thank god. My only concerns is unexpecteds in the future about availability to get hiv drugs. you never know because im on government funding with no insurance and with the us economy and government who know but I guess I will deal with that when and if that day comes. For now just know if you take care of yourself, take your meds and exercise, no drugs or alcohol abuse you will live to be an old man or woman, woohoo,I look forward to the day when im eligible for social security, haha…..

  • Faith said:

    Im so happy to see so many positive feedbacks. My boyfriend was diagnosed positive 3 months ago and I then went for two tests thereafter that both turned out negative. Even with these results i was still angry and kept asking why? why? this all happened. Im facing reality now and helping him at all levels. Its been so hard and with no one to talk to. He is now on ARVs and had a CD4 count of 173. My question here is, how does a positive person react to a negative partner? Does one have guilt or resentments? My boyfriend is very quiet about it all and I never seem to get an answer to how he really feels about the whole. And then again, I dont want to ask him too many questions knowing the diagnosis is early and he must be going through a lot himself…

  • Compassion said:

    Great postive comments. We all must remain hopeful that disease will be defeated. It’s a matter of time. As for those fearful about being tested, get tested. The virus can be controlled with treatment. In addition Federal funding will remain in effect respectfully. Obama’s changes will not phase out assistance. (Reference CDC’s website; it confirms this.) The most devistating aspects of the disease remain with people’s perspectives. Education and compassion toward anyone with HIV is essential; thru this many of the “ups and downs” of HIV can also be defeated.

  • NJguy said:

    For anyone not on meds, get on meds. It reduces the possibility of harm done by inflamation to the body, and you will also have the relief to know that if your viral load is undetectable, you have a lesser chance of passing it on accidentally. And continue to protect yourself.. hiv is not the only sexually transmitted virus that can hurt you. Some others can do as bad or worse.

  • Brian said:

    In 1986 I was officially diagnosed as HIV + (HTLV III, that long ago). In the military. How young I was to find this out at that time. Being told you were going to die in 6 months was a huge pill to swallow.

    Now, I’m in my mid forties. I’ve done great for the most part except for a few close calls.

    The interior of my body has aged twice. Thank God I look OK for my age. It’s not all fun and games for me anymore though. My bones and mental dispostion has taken a toll on me. Work is no longer tolerable.

    Even though my t-cells are OK, my body is wrecked in pain. If I hit 70 years it will be a miracle. No, I don’t want to live that long.

    There is an over estimation here in my opinion. Middle age and the effects of HIV are overwhelming. It’s a double entendre.

    However, I am grateful for the years I’ve been given. Thanks to modern science. Hopefully everyone lives as long and healthy. Spiritually, I am fulfilled. Wow, what a ride. I’m not defined by my illness. Rather I am defined by my will to live.

    Would look forward to others in my same situation.

    Bless you all and hope all of you live your dreams and a long life.

  • Michael said:

    Hey there,

    I took and HIV test a few years ago and it was negative. I had to wait 3 months after the risky behavior. 2nd time around was negative as well. Since then I have taken very good care of myself and always used condoms, but a week ago I received oral sex without a condom and now I am presenting symptoms for a regular STD. I ran to the doctor since I am a health freak and the first things he suggested was an HIV test. Took it and Friday I’m going to get the results. I am so scared and I am feeling so stupid right now. It is so hard to carry on with everything. I am very active and involved in many projects but this week I just could not do anything. Today I spent the whole day reading and going crazy about it. It’s like I cannot concentrate on anything and I am constantly obsessing about being infected. It feels like time is passing by extremely slow and I am trapped in this situation. I do not know what to do guys. I just feel like crying all the time.

  • Anthony said:

    Right now, I’m a few days away from finding out if I have HIV or not and the waiting is excruciatingly painful. Each minute that ticks by feels like hours and I’m driving myself crazy staring at the walls at home. A few weeks ago, I had unprotected sex with a friend who became suddenly very ill and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. He called me out of the blue recently and told me he was just diagnosed with HIV and that I needed to get tested urgently. The rest of that day seemed to dissolve into wisps of smoke as I can’t recall anything else after that moment. His doctors said he was very recently infected and he swears to me that I was the only person he had slept with in the last month. I’m pretty sure the results will come back positive even though I’ve shown none of the symptoms of infection.

    What makes me cry every day though is not my own health or life, but that of my friend. We’ve developed a very close bond lately and have cried on each other’s shoulders. His life has been ruined because of the diagnosis – his partner left him, his single mother is heartbroken and he has lost the will to continue. I spent several days with him at the hospital while he was on suicide watch. My tears everyday are for the guilt of what I have done and the all the pain and suffering caused, not just now but for years to come. I watched a healthy strong young man become reduced to a shadow of his former self, weak, frail and morbidly skinny.

    I appreciate all the positive comments on this site and I didn’t want to leave such an awful piece of writing for you all to read, but this is what I’m feeling. I welcome any feedback if you have any. Thanks

  • Hey, thats me! said:

    Hey Hidden Helper,

    I don’t know if you are still there, but since I couldn’t find any reply to your msg, I felt like writing one: GO AND DO THE TESTS!
    I understand things are hard in your country, and it seems like you wold suffer a lot of prejudice if pp found out you have the virus. Still, it’s better to be healthy and safe. Try acting in the most discrete ways, but don’t let that prevent you from getting all the tests and the treatments!

    As for me, I found out that I have the virus about a year ago. I was going through a seriously “uncautious” phase, which was already very odd to me. I have always been very careful about everything!
    But then, one sunny day, I started feeling like I had this flu that woludn’t leave my body. And since I am also a disease freak, like Michael up there, I ran to the doctors, only to find out that yes, I had the stupid thing.
    Anyway, I got the result when I was at work. Went out to cry (a lot!), and just got back to work. Went to the doctor later, and with all the good prospects he gave me, I felt quite ok. Of course, I had my momments of despair, crying like a baby, but, hey, it’s not (anymore!) a death sentence. So just deal with it!

    And, Faith, let me give you my opinion: if your bf doesn’t want to talk, let him be. Show your support in other ways. Just show you are there for him. Some people prefer dealing with things on their own. Knowing they are not alone might be enough for them to feel reassured.

    Thanks everybody for all the comments. It’s good to hear other pp’s stories. I had never shared mine, and had never heard from anyone else. It feels better to see that we are not alone.

    Cheers!

  • Hey, thats me! said:

    Anthony, I had not read your msg.
    I don’t know if I have any good feedback to give. If it was you who had the virus, I would say “Get used to it. It’s not like you’re gonna die. It’s actually like another cronical disease – let’s say, high cholesterol, or diabetes”. But since it’s with somebody else (and things always eem harder when it’s with a friend or family), I can only say: show him your support. Be there for him, and try to show him that he still has a long life ahead of him. If he gives up, stop working and go into depression, he will just diminish the quality of the many years he still has to live (that is, considering he takes all the medicine!).
    Try not worrying about it. Instead, learn whatever it is that you have to learn from the experience, and use that knowledge to become a better person!

    That’s what I think!

    Cheers!

  • Daniel said:

    Hi,

    Does anybody knows something about a herbal supplement , Shiitake and Mitake? Are they good as an al ternative treatmento to increase the immune system? Does anyone knows about any other herbal supplement that really helps with HIV…..i mean in combination with the traditional meds that we have.

    Feel free to write me on my e mail on gamil: onnismd

    Truly;

    Danny

  • Rios said:

    Hello to all :),

    I am so glad to her positive feedback from everyone! I just want everyone to know, we are all strong individuals in our own ways and we will, I repeat, we will face this challenge with all we have! Just stay strong.

    I also want to comment on what Matt said it made me think a little bit more about life, ( I’m going to paraphrase) ” thanks to everyone who commented especially the Drs and everyone involved in the research, it makes life with HIV a lil more worth living!” Wow! What an amazing way to put what we are going through into positive terms. Thank you so much for that. The day I was diagnosed, I thought it was the end of the line for me. I would never, never forget the pain I put my close family through, especially my mother. That day is still fresh in my head even though it happened a bit over two years ago. The pain was something I don’t ever want my worse enemy to go through. The way she couldn’t hold her self up on her own feet, crying in the doctors office when she received the news. What a dreadful day. But thank you so much Matt for that comment worth thinking about and enjoy your journey exploring the world!! :)

  • need help said:

    my bf has an HIV. we dated and after few months he told me he has. I already love him at that time and my world rocked when he told me. I wanted to break up with him but i already love him so much. im younger, 25 and he is 45, 20 years gap…i dont know how i fell in love with him. He is a kind man, patient and i want to be with him. I love him so much and i want to take care of him. we never had sex yet, we want to wait till we get married. but i feel a little scared. im young and i want to have a family but i know we cant have a child cus yeah he has an HIV. I want to marry him but i feel really scared. please give me advice :’(

  • Homeopathy said:

    I have read your messages. Please try Homeopathic Treatment, it is not harmful and it helps to keep your immunity up and CD 4 and CD 8 counts up.

  • Dustin said:

    Listen I’ve had HIV/AIDS sense i was 13 yrs old after being molested by a another man, now 37 going on 24 yrs with this. there’s been ups n downs lots of related illnesses including cancer (stage 4) but considering i’m still alive after i was told in 1990 i would die within 7 yrs. all you can do is move forward and help others.
    as of today my CD4 is 1169 viral load is >50
    and so far i’ve survived:
    stage 4 hodgkin’s
    PCP phnomia
    Shingles
    bells palsy
    rabdomialsis (kidney failure) pissing my own muscle tissue
    gull stones
    blood clots in right IJ
    BUT MY ASS IS STILL KICKIN SO GOD MY WANT ME FOR SOMETHING

    the hardest part is the loneliness its still hard to find a woman that wants to be with you when you tell them you got AIDS
    take care from Baltimore

  • Mark said:

    People, I knew about this horrible “gay cancer,’ as it was called back in 1982. I avoided it like the Plague it is. In 2002, for whatever reason, God decided to let 3 condoms come off inside me. I had been tested regularly and knew I was negative. Jan. 2001, neg. june 2002, neg. Then, July 20, 2002, I woke up, wow. 104 degree fever, cramps, diarhea, headache, etc. I phoned a friend and said, “if I hadnt just had my AIDS test I would be worried about this.” Ok, a month or 2 goes by, my annual physical in September. I ask for an AIDS test. A few weeks later my Dr. casually calls me and says, “I am sorry to say your western blot came back reactive/positive/confirmed.” I immediately freaked out. He, in his pollyanna way like SO man physicians,said, ” its not a death sentence.” right. I got on Trizivir immediately. My initial reads were: 550 cds and 45k viral load. I went resistant to Trizivir about 3 yrs. later. I am now on Reyataz and Epzicom. Undetectible, cd4 about 900. It is all copacetic, right? I dont smoke dont drink am adherent. That being said: the STIGMA and EMOTIONAL drain of having to LIE about one’s income(Im on SSDI and Medicare), one’s health(fake feeling good) and such takes its toll. Depression and anxiety come with the territory. Therapists and Valium help but theyre just band aids. ha band AIDS. Anyway, being patronized by the medical community in order to calm the masses, that is what they are trained to do. The fact is this guys: if you got HIV your life span is SHORTENED by about 20 years on average. The 2012 studies done in Europe and USA prove it. Put that in your pipe and smoke it peoples. Google it, type in: LIFE EXPECTANCY HIV USA and voila! you will get the DEPRESSING answer. Do you like having a needle in your arm every 5 months or so? Do you like having your liver squeezed over and over? Do you dig the indignity of holding your head high while you are in shame? That is life with HIV. I was raised Catholic, oldest of 7 kids. I was a good boy. I was careful. I STILL got this F***ing diseases. People, let me tell you out loud; CONDOMS/RUBBERS BREAK TEAR COME OFF. They are NOT safe. I do feel very sorry for the young generation having to wear bodysuits in order to have intimacy. Another observation: funny, when someone gets hit by a car, cancer, there is sympathy and people provide support. With this it is the opposite. Tell anyone, friends, family, potential lovers, and watch the emptiness. I have lost people Ive know 30 yrs. just because I admitted to them my ailment and THOUGHT we were close enough and FRIENDS. HA. FRIENDS what are those? Turncoats, gone rogue. So watch your back, keep your mouth shut, fake it til you can make it and NO IT IS NOT FUN HAVING HIV. I dont care WHAT the F***ing PhD’s say. Their Pollyanna patronization of my 130 IQ points is insulting. I know my disease, I am not an IDS, however, I have spent years studying HIV/AIDS online and in the New England Journal of Medicine, Wikipedia, etc. Guys, Gals, its a grim diagnosis. The daily stomach cramps from the ARV, the social stigma, the constant blood draws, (Ive got vagus nerve issues, occasionally pass out, what a sissy!), the looks, though subtle from those who know. Hey isnt it fun being treated like a FREAK out there? I dont think so. My view point: Life sucks then you die. Sorry but I call like it is. Everyone is individual and everyone has a slightly different reaction to the virus and meds, yes I KNOW THAT. Just read what I said above. Feel the isolation, the estrangement from society, the shrinking abilities physically, the nightmares, the night sweats, wondering if this is it when I got a HORRIBLE flu 2 yrs. ago, was sick a month, almost hospitalized. Wasnt that fun. When I began in 2002 I weighed 175, I go 139 now. Wasting and lipoatrophy, OH BOY aint that fun!!!! My face my body is ALTERED by this ANIMAL VIRUS in me. I dont have sex with animals. NEVER. It sickens me that I picked it up. I was SO careful. I have a MOUNTAIN of ANGER for getting this horrifying disease. No, it is NOT like diabetes or whatever. IT IS WORSE. I dont have Hepatitis, I dont drink or smoke, I do adhere but Im reaching the point at the 11 year mark where my sleep in constantly interrupted by the stomach cramps. I cant have ANY sugar or else I will go diabetic(side effects of the ARV, Darlings), I look like a shadow of my former self. I try amino acids. This is what I have found: In proportion to the amount of food I eat, like for example a LOT, then I will have a LOT of stomach cramps. If i DONT eat at all or very little I can almost sleep regular. This is how the disease manifests itself with me. Yes, Im very angry. I did NOT WANT THIS. HURRY UP WITH A CURE PLEASE!!

  • Nelson said:

    I am a 21 year old man.i was prophesised that my blood have HIV.im scared of death and how long i can live since the prophert said i hv a pulmonery TB,Pulmonery Tb is our family disease,it Kills about 9 members in our family.Im scared but im not yet diagonised.I have sleepless nights,and im failing to eat food.Im worried,From Zimbabwe.

  • juan said:

    I was diagnosed september 1986 in LA i was a santa monica blvd boy i was young and thought well thats that im a done deal. full blown aids since 2000 because of a t cell count of 5 and had to get surgery for cancer which was eradicated still not sick but have had lo t cell counts at times, from not taking meds im 44 now and still doing my thing most people still dont know im posative ……. meds have changed but sad to say the stigma remains. never had nightsweats or pnamonia or none of those things usally assciated with hiv and aids. i also have never had any other std my entire life. hiv thats it.

  • mdeva said:

    I discovered that im hiv positive in 2011,then i went to a cd4 check and it was 750,after another 6 months i checked again,and it was 1100.im surprised cos i don’t attend any doctor but my cells r improving everytime.or is it because i don’t drink sand smoke?i don’t really know,i jst need more details on how to control this virus,pls help

  • heysai said:

    Hi,

    Most unfortunate thing ever happened to me is knowing my sister is diagnosed almost 8 years go and I came to know recently. They hid from me thinking why to suffer me as I am residing in a seperate country. She got from her husband. She has gone to depression and what not. Now she is in serious condition. She has infection and her skin totally changed.It looks like white patches. Two days back she has blood clot and doctors are giving her treatment. I couldn’t control my tears as I write this note. I wanted to do something. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated

    Thanks

  • miss who here said:

    Please an just 24 years old and just got result yesterday that am positive. My boyfriend contacted this from me too. We live in africa where I can’t get drugs. Please i want advise on what i can take to live long. We have decided to get married and live happily together for the rest of our life. Please we are thinking about staying in my country to start business but no way to get proper meds. Please what can we look for and what country can we relocate to. Please i need your advise asap. God is our strength.

  • be positive said:

    Hi all,

    I had sex with sex workers on June 2012 almost 1 year ago .
    till now i haven’t checked my hiv status here my concern is after transmit hiv virus in body when person gets weakened lets assume i got infeted 1 year back till now i haven’t faced any health problem.

    Please advice me how to proceed.

  • NYCguy said:

    I am a 27 year old performer. I was on tour in Australia and having a great time. I went in to get tested In December since it was National Aids Awareness day. I unfortunately received a false negative. I was brought back for another test. After that test I was told I was positive. I have not told anyone in my family. How do you tell the people you love “Hey, just got back from Australia and I brought HIV with me”? I know I have to be a big boy and deal with the consequences of my actions. I literally reflect on it 70% of my day. I read advice that I should not let it consume me, but this is a really difficult thing to deal with. I feel alone. I think back and wish I could take back the horrific decision I made. I like to think I don’t regret anything in life since I have achieved so much and traveled to over 46 different countries in the last 5 years of my career. But this thing I have inside me is something I very much regret and in a sense am appalled at myself for letting this happen.
    My career has been my main priority my whole life. I don’t have an ordinary job. My job is very active and requires lots of gallivanting through the world. Im worried this is going to prevent me from furthering myself in my career. I am not ready to give this up yet. I have not achieved all the goals I have set for myself.
    I am doing lots of research and reading many articles about this virus. Nothing has brought me any comfort as to what to look forward to for my future. Should I just give up? Is this a battle that I can even attempt to surpass? Am I fooling myself into believing I am going to be OK? These questions flood my mind several hours of the day. What kind of advice do you have in coping with this mindset? How do I even begin to break the news to my loved ones? I want to tell them so bad but afraid of the consequence.

  • ChicagoGuy said:

    NYCguy, saw your post and really want you to know that your life is far from over. My partner has been positive over 20 years, and is in great health. I met him when he was a couple years older than you are, and he was sure he wouldn’t live to be 40. I read up on HIV, found out he was taking good meds and getting good care. We’ve been together 15+ years now.

    Best advice is to realize you have a chronic disease that is manageable with medication. Then go on living your life. Recent research is estimating that most HIV+ people will live longer than their HIV- friends, simply because they get regular checkups and are mindful of healthy habits.

    BTW, his family immigrated to the US, so he hasn’t told them he’s poz, as it’s really immaterial to his relationship with them – and they’re close. I understand the immediate urge to be confessional with the family, but hold off a bit. Locate a support group for HIV+ guys, or tell one good unconditional friend. Then decide if you want to disclose to your family. The last thing you need is pity from people who don’t understand your condition, no matter how much they love you. That’s just a downer, and doesn’t change a damn thing.

    You have many decades ahead of you. Go live, guy!

  • Jesse said:

    Hi My name is Jesse and I contracted the virus January 18th 2013 I was diagnosed on Feb 15th 2013(Happy Valentines day!!):( any way it is now march 26th and my medication regimen starts tomorrow. Being tested so early my viral load is over 1,000,000 (one million) and my CD4 count was at 563. I still don’t know if I have been infected with a strain with any mutations but I’m praying I wasn’t and never develop any. This article gives me hope for a normal long life and it let met know just how lucky I am that I caught it early. Thank you for sharing with me this encouraging findings and statistical information.

  • nicole said:

    @Jesse. They have so many new drugs and treatment that I wouldn’t be too worried. I contracted HIV in 1996, 2 years after I had my son. Then I was 19 or 20. I am 36 years old. There was a time that I became resistant to the medicines I was taking and that is very scary, but ever since I started this new cocktail everything is lovely. They just came out with a medicine where you only have to take 1 pill a day. Talk to your doc. about it, though I don’t know what the name of the pill is. The meds I started taking was because I signed up for a study at EVMS. It wasn’t even FDA approved yet. Now it is and it works wonders. Good luck on your jouney and keep a positive mind set.

  • Another One said:

    I tested positive in November 1992 when I was 24 years old. I am now 45 and from what my doctor tells me I will live to be an old man. What’s eating me is that I tested positive around the same time, give or take a few years, with all my other friends in our extended family unit and I have outlived them all. I tested positive during the days when you could go to the hospital and see patients who had KS or Pneumocystis (2 of the biggest threats back then)or the wasting syndrome which so many of my friends had. Today, it’s like living in another time and place compared to just 20 yrs ago because you rarely see those illnesses or at least not in the same numbers as before.
    I think what has kept me around so long is that I know when, where, how and who infected me and got tested soon thereafter. So, I guess I’m one of those patients who had an early intervention and have been fortunate enough to get medical care practically at the onset of my contracting this disease. As they say, the proof is in the pudding?
    Peace and love to all.

  • Chabo said:

    Hi I am 35 and I am In relation with a guy since 6 years. My boy friend had fever few weeks ago and he had infection in his ear he went to his physician who removed surgically a polyp from noise and asked him to do hiv test the came positif and he will start seing a specialist for medications and treatment hope he will get better and continue his life because he is depressed and feels down and want to suicide and I am worry about him . I was worry about myself too I made the hiv test it was negative . How can I be sure that I did not get the virus ? My doctor suggest to redo the test after 3 and 6 months is it correct? And please I need ur advice about my friend because I still care about him and want to help him he is my best friend and we are like brothers . I just wish that medications will help people having the virus to be cured and I believe that god will not leave us .