This is a big change in 2015.
We now know that HIV can cause serious problems even with a strong immune system.
Treatment is very effective and easy to take. It often involves only one or two pills a day.
How quickly does HIV progress without ART?
HIV infection progresses at very different rates in different people.
Nearly everyone who is HIV positive will need treatment at some time.
This includes people whose HIV progresses very slowly.
- At least 1 in 5 people progress quickly. Their CD4 count will drop to less than 350 within 2 years of infection.
- Up to 50% of people could take 2-10 years (average of 5 years) until the CD4 count drops to 350.
- About 1 in 4 people keep a CD4 count above 350 for 10 years without treatment.
- Less than 1 in 20 people keep a CD4 count above 350 for 15-20 years without treatment.
- Only 1 in 10,000 people keep a high CD4 count without treatment for more than 20 years.
ART is now recommended when diagnosed regardless of your CD4 count even when this is still high.
You and your doctor will discuss the best time to start treatment. This will usually take place over several visits.