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Author Topic: How long can someone remain undetectable?  (Read 5754 times)

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BeTheLove

  • Guest
How long can someone remain undetectable?
« on: June 27, 2008, 05:50:10 PM »
Hi Everyone,

My appologies if this question has already been answered in one of the threads I haven't read here.  But I'd really appreciate some feedback from everyone.  Are there any people in the LTS forum who have been poz for more than 10 years but have never needed to go on meds due to always being undetectable or at least always having a very low viral load, (like less than 1000?)  I'm curious as to how long someone can remain undetectable naturally, without drugs, before the virus starts kicking ass? 

I know that docs have found specific genes that can keep HIV at bay--but was wondering for how long?  Any verdict?

And is anyone HIV poz but also undetectable and has never taken drugs?  If so, how long have you been poz and undetectable?

Thanks for sharing!
BTL

Offline Bicepguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 20
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 01:19:15 AM »
Try a search on "Long Term Non Progressors".  I'm not close to the language and definitions have varied over time.  10-12 years seems the accepted definition.  It was much more an issue when anti-HIV meds where more brutal and harder to tolerate and take on time.  Now with one single pill once a day regime and many regimes with just  two pills once a day and less toxicity, adherence is much much better.

The average AIDS diagnosis without treatment after HIV infection (not diagnosis) is 10 years. AIDS can sound dramatic but it also include technical definitions of blood counts with no noticeable ill health.  I progressed  from injection to AIDS in under 3 years and for many it can be less that that - hence the importance of reliable and regular blood work to check for changes to the viral load but also to other markers that are better at predicting poor health - levels of white blood cells and more complicated ratios that measure how fit your immune system is.
Co-infected HIV/HepC Geno 4. HIV HAART = Truvada/Sustiva, <50 VL, CD4 350-450, 30%.  Vast HCV V before starting Peg Interferon/Ribavarin Nov 2007 - zero VL after weeks.

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2008, 08:43:20 AM »
BTL,

There's really no answer to your question - much like "how long is a piece of string". It depends.

My doctor calls me a long term SLOW progressor. I'm not a LTNP because my viral load has been too high to qualify, although for the past five/six years it's usually under 20,000. I've been positive eleven years; seroconverted in May 1997, but not diagnosed until Feb 2001 - hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Still not on meds and probably won't be for a while yet. Last labs were 10,700; 433; 26%

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline OzPaul

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  • Posts: 410
  • a very blessed 29 year ltnp
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2008, 09:39:42 AM »
Hi BTL

I'm one of those folks termed an LTNP. I tested poz in 1985 though likely seroconverted in 1981. I have never had a detectable viral load since that test was first performed on me in 1992. Hope that helps with your questions.

My last labs were cd4 at 950 and percentage of 42%

Cheers
Paul


Offline Dachshund

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  • Posts: 5,954
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2008, 10:02:45 AM »
As Ann said there's really no answer to your question.

I tested poz in the mid eighties, but most likely became infected in the early eighties. By my rough calculations I didn't start meds for at least twelve-fifteen years after infection, but I have never considered myself a LTNP. I also had friends that died in less than a year after testing positive. It's a crap shoot.

What I am noticing is a trend in folks wondering (hoping) after just a short time of infection if they could be a LTNP. Monitoring your labs through a doctor will tell you soon enough. For the majority the answer will be no.

edited for typo
« Last Edit: June 28, 2008, 10:50:24 AM by Dachshund »

BeTheLove

  • Guest
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2008, 11:59:44 AM »
Bicepguy, thanks for the suggestion to do a search on LTNPís.  I donít think Iíve done that in at least five years so it would be interesting to see anything new that comes up.

Ann, I guess I already knew, but thanks for confirming that there really isnít a definitive answer to my question.  Iím infamous for wanting to answers to the ďimpossible questions.Ē

OzPaul, itís great to hear how HIV has remained at bay for you!  High-fives to you!  And thanks for sharing your story.

Daschshund, I realize that the majority will not be non-progressors, but I can totally see why people who test poz would be hopeful to be one of them.

Iíve been poz since 95.  Iíve had two ďbleepsĒ (as my doctor puts it) in my blood work, meaning twice in my blood work history Iíve had a viral load under 1000.  I havenít had a bleep in over 8 years but always wonder what the hell it is that is keep this virus at bay and how long it will actually stay thereóat bay. 

My lowest t-count was 750 when I first tested poz but everyone test thereafter has been over 1000.  I think itís interesting that the first one was so low considering the stress I was going through knowing that my partner had just tested poz and that I was likely to test the same.

Thanks for all your input and support!  You all ROCK!
BTL




Offline Dachshund

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  • Posts: 5,954
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 02:07:53 PM »
Daschshund, I realize that the majority will not be non-progressors, but I can totally see why people who test poz would be hopeful to be one of them.

That goes without saying, who wouldn't? But my pop psychology suggests that the newly diagnosed focused on how long it takes before you're a LTNP believe it's the next best thing to not being infected. I'm not saying it hurts to ask the question, but I think many people are not being honest about the rationale. I just don't want to see people compromising their health waiting for some mythical LTNP timeline to be provided.

Offline aztecan

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  • Posts: 5,394
  • 29 years positive, 57 years a pain in the butt
Re: How long can someone remain undetectable?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2008, 09:50:40 AM »
I'm with Auntie Doxie on this one. I think people would do anything to divert the focus from their being positive and having to deal with all the things we pozzies must deal with.

For myself, I probably fall in the long term slow progressor category, like Ann and Doxie. I tested positive in 1985, but probably became in infected in 1980. I didn't start meds until 1996, which would give me between 11 and 16 years without meds.

Of course, the first five years or so there were no meds, or only AZT monotherapy.

I think the goal should be to stay as healthy as we can and carry on with our lives.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

 


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