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How long is life expectancy on modern HIV drugs?

  • mikey_101 Posts: 250
    QUOTE Mar 14, 2012 2:19 PM GMT
    How long is a piece of string, I know.

    I cant get a straight answer from the GU clinic or any specialists.

    If someone has been on Sustiva and Kivexa to sucessfully make them undetectable, diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and no real health issues...... whats the likely longterm prognosis?

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    QUOTE Mar 14, 2012 3:35 PM GMT
    http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Aging/Q195222.html
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    QUOTE Mar 14, 2012 9:19 PM GMT
    mikey_101 saidHow long is a piece of string, I know.

    I cant get a straight answer from the GU clinic or any specialists.

    If someone has been on Sustiva and Kivexa to sucessfully make them undetectable, diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and no real health issues...... whats the likely longterm prognosis?

    I know people who have been on all the drugs since they were prescribed.. going on 30 yrs! And yet, old age afflictions are the same as anyone else. Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer or none of the above. At 70 and having been on those drugs that long with really no issues except 'normal' 70 yr old issues, that in itself should answer your question.
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    QUOTE Mar 15, 2012 2:09 PM GMT
    One of the first things my doctor told me was to expect a normal life span if I keep taking my meds. He also said that you have to watch out for the other diseases that come with aging (heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and there is a history of these in my family).

    Eat right, exercise, avoid bad habits (smoking, drinking to much), and get regular bloodwork to make sure liver and kidney functions aren't being affected by the HIV meds.
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    QUOTE Mar 15, 2012 2:30 PM GMT
    mikey_101 saidHow long is a piece of string, I know.

    I cant get a straight answer from the GU clinic or any specialists.

    If someone has been on Sustiva and Kivexa to sucessfully make them undetectable, diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and no real health issues...... whats the likely longterm prognosis?

    I personally know guys who are approaching 30 years with HIV, and they look & act great. That was before the first cocktail was devised, and certainly before today's drugs.

    But, I have to be honest and throw in a caveat. Fatal opportunistic diseases are unpredictable and can still strike at any point without warning or clear cause. My own late partner was doing great at 12 years poz, undetectable viral counts, good T-cells. Then out of nowhere he contracted PML in 2003.

    Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a 100% fatal brain disease caused by the JC virus, which 70% of us carry harmlessly. A weakened immune system allows it to enter the brain, where it cannot be cured or stopped. Many mysterious early AIDS deaths were caused by it before it was identified.

    That's just one of the diseases that can strike without warning, even today. So that a poz person is always walking a tightrope. Not missing meds, avoiding exposure to disease risks, and a healthy lifestyle can all improve the odds of surviving for decades.

    Yet the specialists can't give you a firm answer because nobody knows for sure. You have the 30-year survivors, and you have the guys who still die very soon after initially contracting HIV.

    When I "married" my late partner, knowing he was poz, I knew I'd have him for as long as I had him, short or long. It turned out to be short, but I don't regret it. Guys drop dead unexpectedly of heart attacks, they have accidents, all manner of things can kill them. If this is about deciding whether you should commit yourself to a poz guy, I can tell you I'd do it myself if I faced that choice again regarding a man I loved.
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    QUOTE Mar 15, 2012 3:23 PM GMT
    Thanks Art Deco for the that response. It was really insightful.
  • mikey_101 Posts: 250
    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 10:18 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    mikey_101 saidHow long is a piece of string, I know.

    I cant get a straight answer from the GU clinic or any specialists.

    If someone has been on Sustiva and Kivexa to sucessfully make them undetectable, diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and no real health issues...... whats the likely longterm prognosis?

    I personally know guys who are approaching 30 years with HIV, and they look & act great. That was before the first cocktail was devised, and certainly before today's drugs.

    But, I have to be honest and throw in a caveat. Fatal opportunistic diseases are unpredictable and can still strike at any point without warning or clear cause. My own late partner was doing great at 12 years poz, undetectable viral counts, good T-cells. Then out of nowhere he contracted PML in 2003.

    Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a 100% fatal brain disease caused by the JC virus, which 70% of us carry harmlessly. A weakened immune system allows it to enter the brain, where it cannot be cured or stopped. Many mysterious early AIDS deaths were caused by it before it was identified.

    That's just one of the diseases that can strike without warning, even today. So that a poz person is always walking a tightrope. Not missing meds, avoiding exposure to disease risks, and a healthy lifestyle can all improve the odds of surviving for decades.

    Yet the specialists can't give you a firm answer because nobody knows for sure. You have the 30-year survivors, and you have the guys who still die very soon after initially contracting HIV.

    When I "married" my late partner, knowing he was poz, I knew I'd have him for as long as I had him, short or long. It turned out to be short, but I don't regret it. Guys drop dead unexpectedly of heart attacks, they have accidents, all manner of things can kill them. If this is about deciding whether you should commit yourself to a poz guy, I can tell you I'd do it myself if I faced that choice again regarding a man I loved.



    Thanks you for your candid honesty.

    I read your reply yesterday and it made me weep - I was too upset to reply.

    I'm finding it dificult knowing that it will likely be an opertunistic infection that will take my partner away from me one day - or it will be the 'side effects' of the medication that will be the deciding factor.

    Its extremely hard to know in advance what the base cause of a loved ones death will be..... although we will all die one way or another - that could be today, tomorrow or any time at all.

    Heart attack, lunkemia, pneumonia, car crash, stroke, accident..... any one of us could drop dead at any moment.

    I dont know whay HIV is such a mindfuck for a negative partner.

    I have accepted that I will probably outlive my partner, will likley have to nurse his ill health, and I know this will tear me apart.

    I took this all on knowingly and love him from the bottom of my heart.

    Why can life be so cruel.

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    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 10:41 AM GMT
    That's a great question that I think many of us wish we knew the answer too. I have been POZ for 16 years, and undetectable for most of the 16 years (I had a viral load the first month only), but I am extremely protective about my body (careful about what I eat, only socially drink a few times a month and I don't smoke or use drugs). I also make sure I get enough sleep and keep my body extremely active (probably why I became a fitness trainer later in life). Most of the drugs were fast-tracked since HIV was a 100% fatal disease. These days its a manageable one... if we manage it. Most people skip doses and that can fuck things up. I have rarely ever missed a dose in my 16 years. I am still on the same class of drugs since the very beginning. We have only changed them as they became more manageable (from 3x a day, to 1x a day and multiple pills to a single pill). My doctor told me at this rate, I will probably die in a plane crash before I succumb to HIV. And the chances of me giving someone HIV is nearly impossible. But someone can give me a new strain. So its still very important to remain protected...better safe than dead.
  • nanidesukedo Posts: 1036
    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 11:51 AM GMT
    NoCityGuy saidThat's a great question that I think many of us wish we knew the answer too. I have been POZ for 16 years, and undetectable for most of the 16 years (I had a viral load the first month only), but I am extremely protective about my body (careful about what I eat, only socially drink a few times a month and I don't smoke or use drugs). I also make sure I get enough sleep and keep my body extremely active (probably why I became a fitness trainer later in life). Most of the drugs were fast-tracked since HIV was a 100% fatal disease. These days its a manageable one... if we manage it. Most people skip doses and that can fuck things up. I have rarely ever missed a dose in my 16 years. I am still on the same class of drugs since the very beginning. We have only changed them as they became more manageable (from 3x a day, to 1x a day and multiple pills to a single pill). My doctor told me at this rate, I will probably die in a plane crash before I succumb to HIV. And the chances of me giving someone HIV is nearly impossible. But someone can give me a new strain. So its still very important to remain protected...better safe than dead.


    Bingo! You mentioned something here that most people don't know/remember:
    HIV has strains!
    Once you have HIV, your HIV can "mutate/shift" if you contract other strains and that can render your current HAART inactive.
    A lot of people don't know this and go along with the "I have HIV - I can do whatever I want now" practice..
    As long as you find the appropriate treatment to manage your strain, as mentioned above, you are likely to die of heart disease, Diabetes, old age, etc...
    So, no matter who you are and what you have - wrap it up!
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    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 12:04 PM GMT
    mikey_101 saidHow long is a piece of string, I know.

    I cant get a straight answer from the GU clinic or any specialists.

    If someone has been on Sustiva and Kivexa to sucessfully make them undetectable, diagnosed almost 10 years ago, and no real health issues...... whats the likely longterm prognosis?

    Some excellent answers here already. My thoughts, six years in as an HIV+ person ... Take care of your body, comply religiously with the drug regimen, and stay active. Beyond those three tips, have fun and go live a full, engaged, happy life. Odds are if you do the above three, you'll be just fine for a long, long time.
  • Latenight30 Posts: 1498
    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 1:10 PM GMT
    This has to be one of the most insightful threads on HIV I have read in months.
    Finally something different than "I shook hands with someone that might possibly had come in contact with someone a few years ago... should I get tested?"
    It's about living and making the right choices.
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    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 1:22 PM GMT
    NoCityGuy saidThat's a great question that I think many of us wish we knew the answer too. I have been POZ for 16 years, and undetectable for most of the 16 years (I had a viral load the first month only), but I am extremely protective about my body (careful about what I eat, only socially drink a few times a month and I don't smoke or use drugs). I also make sure I get enough sleep and keep my body extremely active (probably why I became a fitness trainer later in life). Most of the drugs were fast-tracked since HIV was a 100% fatal disease. These days its a manageable one... if we manage it. Most people skip doses and that can fuck things up. I have rarely ever missed a dose in my 16 years. I am still on the same class of drugs since the very beginning. We have only changed them as they became more manageable (from 3x a day, to 1x a day and multiple pills to a single pill). My doctor told me at this rate, I will probably die in a plane crash before I succumb to HIV. And the chances of me giving someone HIV is nearly impossible. But someone can give me a new strain. So its still very important to remain protected...better safe than dead.
    It will NOT be a plane that I maintain!
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    QUOTE Mar 20, 2012 2:22 PM GMT
    mikey_101 saidI have accepted that I will probably outlive my partner, will likley have to nurse his ill health, and I know this will tear me apart.

    I took this all on knowingly and love him from the bottom of my heart.

    Why can life be so cruel.

    Life isn't so cruel when a guy has a partner like you. Now listen to the good news:

    One day while volunteering at the reception desk of the local Gay & Lesbian Community Center I answered an out-of-state call. It was from a mother in Tennessee, literally crying and not knowing who to speak with, she'd found our number online.

    Her 20-year-old gay son had gone to live in Miami a year ago, and just phoned her to say that he had HIV. He was homeless but wouldn't return to Tennessee.

    She asked me how long he had to live. And here is what I told her:

    If her son only recently contracted HIV and starts treatment soon then his near-term survival chances are excellent. Long term is good today, too, and I gave her some stats. I told her how the medications are constantly improving, and moving toward a true cure. He has a good chance of living long enough to receive that ultimate treatment.

    Think of him like the Class of 2008. When HIV first struck, the Class of 1983 didn't do well, there was very little to treat them, and most died. This is what you remember happening, I said to her. That is not true today, there are new medications to manage this, though not yet cure it totally. Your son in the Class of 2008 will see advances every few years, and may be within striking distance of the end of this disease.

    But first we must keep him alive to see it, and he must get on those meds right away. I gave her a boatload of contacts for free HIV treatments, counseling, financial assistance, and also shelters that would take him. Not something the GLCC did, but I had other community contacts of my own to make this happen.

    But she couldn't reach him directly, only when he chose to call her, so my hands were tied. I never did learn what the outcome was, but she thanked me for easing her mind, and giving her hope.

    Your own partner may outlive you yet. He is not a doomed man, but rather perhaps just a few years away from a total cure, so never treat him like a lost cause. And with support from you he could live 30+ years on just the meds he has available today, even if no breakthroughs ever happen.

    But it is uncertain, and reality must be faced, that nothing is guaranteed. I could cut my finger tomorrow, an HIV-neg guy, and get one of these antibiotic-resistant strains that will kill me.

    Therefore love your man, care for him, treasure him. Watch over him like a hawk, but not oppressively. Are you involved with his doctors? All of my HIV partner's doctors insisted themselves that I be included in office visits, so they could tell me what my responsibilities were. We approached this as a team. And the docs even insisted on testing me, as well, to make sure I presented no medical risk of my own to him. It's a noble and difficult thing you face - all my wishes go out to you.
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    QUOTE Mar 24, 2012 6:48 AM GMT
    nobody knows.
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    QUOTE Mar 24, 2012 7:26 AM GMT
    Discussed this in a recent seminar I attended, a well- known specialist in the field, who admits to being more conservative about this says 45 years is a reasonable expectation, provided the individual is really disciplined etc
  • Muscmasmat Posts: 96
    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 1:37 AM GMT
    Durbdoc saidDiscussed this in a recent seminar I attended, a well- known specialist in the field, who admits to being more conservative about this says 45 years is a reasonable expectation, provided the individual is really disciplined etc


    This is good to hear! Only 13 moree years to go. And I was worried about my 401K lasting until I was 90! Now I can go out and have a great time for the next 13 years!
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    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 1:43 AM GMT
    I've survived 27 years (going on 28 in August).

    Just switched from "Epivir, Zerit, and Viramune" to "Truvada and Viramune".

    The vivid dreams have been great!

    The only reason I switched drugs was because my new doctor told me that Zerit is now only being used in 3rd world countries and is slated for discontinuation by the World Health Organization. I was on my first combo for 14 years.

    So, you can live a long time if you take your meds, keep partying to a minimum (or learn to party with water and soda), eat healthy, get lots of exercise and sleep, and live a purpose driven life.

    Also, for me, that purpose driven life is based on my faith in my Higher Power. And, that Higher Power does not damn, smite, hate, or throw fire and brimstone at anybody.

    That's my recipe. I'm sticking to it.





    P.S. Bacon and Cookehs are also recommended in moderation.
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    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 1:52 AM GMT
    I know I'm not going to die of HIV related causes because the old gypsy lady said I'd die by sliding off an over lubed twink I'll be fucking over the rail on an Atlantis cruise. I don't drown because we're still in port and I land head first on a mooring bollard.
  • ashtare Posts: 9
    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 6:25 AM GMT
    The 45 years is B.S. I am floored a specialist would say that.

    HIV isn't easy but it is manageable. The science is constantly improving, the prognosis gets better all the time. Eventually he will probably fail this cocktail but their are tons others - just as effective.

    Don't mourn something that hasn't happened yet and probably won't happen. You will lose the present to your fears.

    There are no guarantees with HIV but I was told by some of the best in the field that with tight adherence we'll probably die of something else.

    I have been on my protocol for 12 years. My t-cells have gone from 62 to consistently over 500. I am probably in the best shape of my life. I plan to be around for a long time !

    Don't let the numbers whores scare you, that is BS. They have no way of knowing and the science keeps improving. There is also a lot that goes in to this. Populations who have trouble adhering skew the survival numbers. The newer drugs have only been around for a dozen years. A lot of this is "uncharted territory".

    Hang in there.



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    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 5:15 PM GMT
    Here's some recent research on the topic:

    http://www.thebodypro.com/content/66391/life-expectancy-increases-for-north-americans-livi.html
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    QUOTE Mar 26, 2012 5:30 PM GMT
    That reminds me, time to make a donation to AIDS research since I got a job now! Totally skipped my mind for this year. Thanks, Mikey for posting. Hope we find a cure for AIDS.. and Cancer.. SOON!
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    QUOTE Mar 27, 2012 12:04 AM GMT
    The_Guerrilla_Sodomite saidI know I'm not going to die of HIV related causes because the old gypsy lady said I'd die by sliding off an over lubed twink I'll be fucking over the rail on an Atlantis cruise. I don't drown because we're still in port and I land head first on a mooring bollard.
    She told me that I'd fall in love and marry a voluptuous brunette.. I told her to get a 'real job'!
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    QUOTE Mar 27, 2012 12:06 AM GMT
    GAMRican saidI've survived 27 years (going on 28 in August).

    Just switched from "Epivir, Zerit, and Viramune" to "Truvada and Viramune".

    Bleck! nasty! yuck!

    you ho!
  • Posted by a hidden member.Log in to view his profile
    QUOTE Mar 27, 2012 12:20 AM GMT
    ashtare said...

    Don't mourn something that hasn't happened yet and probably won't happen. You will lose the present to your fears.

    ...


    THIS! If there has been one great blessing to having HIV it has been to stop fearing death (because death in one shape or fashion is inevitable anyway) and begin loving life...in the moment. Not being stuck in worry about the future, and not being stuck in regret over the past.

    Being present and living life to the fullest TODAY without regard for if there is a tomorrow. I'm certainly not saying through care to the wind. Far from it. Live a purpose driven life and suck the marrow out of every second, minute, hour and day.

    "Life is a banquet and most poor bastards are starving to death!" - Auntie Mame -


  • dfrourke Posts: 1061
    QUOTE Mar 27, 2012 12:24 AM GMT
    In short: Life expectancy for an HIV positive individual (who has tested positive in the last year and use Antiretroviral treatment) is about equal to their HIV negative counterparts.

    A recent study found that

    "a 20-year-old HIV-positive person who started ARV therapy today with a CD4 count of 350 could expect to live an additional 45.8 years—in other words, till the age of 65.8 (for men, the number was 39.5 additional years; for women, 50.2 additional years). Survival figures are still 13 years less than the general U.K. population. "

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/235880.php

    At length: This is difficult to ascertain currently as new drugs and new "first treatment regimens" are being presented. What is being seen for the first time in a long time is that chronic HIV positive patients are starting to experience the affects of old age (the first time since the epidemic left many patients dead within years). This is a good sign for long term prognosis. However, these statistics don't always translate among specific populations:

    http://www.realhealthmag.com/articles/Life_Span_Blacks_382_22013.shtml

    Hope this helps.

    - David