What Factors Affect HIV Life Expectancy?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Not every patient who has been diagnosed with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) will have the same life expectancy. Many factors may influence HIV life expectancy, including the quality of medical care an infected patient receives. The person's age when he contracts the disease may also play a factor in the life expectancy of an HIV patient. Another crucial factor in HIV life expectancy is whether the patient has symptoms of full-blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV statistics have changed dramatically since the virus was first recognized. When AIDS first became prevalent worldwide, patients diagnosed with the disease were given a grim prognosis. It was nearly always considered to be a fatal disease. While there still is no known cure for the virus that causes aids, HIV can be controlled with proper medical intervention and treatment. As for HIV life expectancy, proper health care and lifestyle choices can improve the prognosis and extend the life expectancy considerably.

One factor affecting HIV life expectancy is early diagnosis and treatment. Certain drugs can stop reproduction of the virus. Preventing the HIV virus from reproducing significantly lowers risk of the infected person developing full-blown AIDS. AIDS is what causes the body's immune system to weaken and become vulnerable to life-threatening infection.


In underdeveloped countries where HIV patients do not have access to medical treatment for this disease, the life expectancy may be 50 percent lower than in other populations. Patients who had been in poor health prior to contracting HIV and had neglected to seek proper health care may also have a shorter life expectancy.

HIV life expectancy may be reduced in a patient with a pre-existing medical condition, such as cancer. For instance, if a terminal cancer patient were to contract the HIV virus, his life expectancy would most likely be reduced. Other pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease will also influence life expectancy.

Many physicians and AIDS specialists believe that highly active anti-retroviral therapy can influence HIV life expectancy. These groups of drugs can inhibit the virus from reproducing, thus prolonging a patient's life. Drugs used in this form of therapy, however, do pose a risk of potential side effects for some patients.

Other factors, such as unhealthy lifestyle choices, can also affect HIV life expectancy. Smoking, excessive drinking, or the use of recreational drugs may reduce the life expectancy of an HIV patient. Conversely, healthy lifestyle choices such as receiving proper nutrition and daily exercise, may extend life expectancy.


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Post 2

I was diagnosed with HIV in 1998. It has been a long and difficult struggle both physically and emotionally but I have finally gotten myself to a place where I feel good and my condition does not seem to be advancing.

A big part of my turn around was committing myself to a healthy life beyond the drugs that my doctor prescribed. I had been on a normal course of drugs for a long time but I ate terribly, drank too much and had some other bad habits that made my condition worse.

Now I eat fresh organic food, exercise regularly, have cut all drugs and alcohol out of my life and take the overall health of my body very seriously. A healthy lifestyle can do wonders for the way you feel even when you have a condition as serious as HIV.

Post 1

It will sound kind of cheesy to say this but I think that a positive outlook can have a real effect on a person's life expectancy when they are suffering from a terminal illness. I know that is what everyone says as a way of putting a little icing on a bad situation, but I think there is some truth here even if science cannot fully explain it.

I have known two people who have died of lung cancer. One had a very positive outlook and went out of her way to find the best in a bad situation. The other was negative from the start. The diagnosis came at a difficult time in his life and he reacted

to it without much hope. I don';t want to criticize, his feeling are pretty understandable. But my point is that the positive friend lived for almost 2 years longer than my other friend. It was probably for lots of reasons, but I'm sure that attitude was one of them.

This story is so common that there has to be some kind of truth here. And why not be positive? Better to spend the time you have focused on what is good and bright and uplifting rather than all the bad stuff.

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