Q&A: Today's Life Expectancy With HIV

Q: Today, with all the treatments available, about how long is the life expectancy of someone with HIV (if that person is living a healthy lifestyle, taking their meds, having protected sex and seeing their doctor regularly, in general? If it develops into AIDS, how does the life expectancy of that same person change?

A: The first medical reports of HIV-infection in the US appeared around 1981.  Human Immunodeficiency Virus was identified as the culprit in 1983.  Azidothymidine (AZT/zidovudine/retrovir) was approved as the first drug for treating HIV infection in 1987.  Other drugs were approaved afterwards: ddi (didanosine/Videx), ddc (zalcitabine; no longer in use), 3TC (lamivudine/Epivir) and d4t (stavudine/Zerit).

These drugs belong to the same class are have relatively weak effects
against suppressing HIV when used alone.  The big break in treating HIV
infection came around 1995.  In 1995-6, new classes of drugs became