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Nonprogressors and HIV resistant

A few people with HIV are described as nonprogressors. These people have HIV that does not progress to more severe symptoms or disease. Most nonprogressors:

  • Have lived with the infection for 10 to 15 years and remained healthy.
  • Do not have declining CD4+ cell counts.
  • Have a very low level of HIV in their blood.

A small number of people never become infected with HIV despite years of exposure to the virus. For example, they may have repeated, unprotected sex with an infected person. These people are said to be HIV-resistant.

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

Advances in HIV Treatment: Understanding ART

Antiretroviral therapy -- or ART -- revolutionized HIV treatment in the past few decades. And newer improvements, like one-pill-a-day drugs, are making life with HIV easier and safer. "HIV really is a chronic disease now," says Brad Hare, MD, medical director of the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital. "It's like diabetes or high blood pressure." As long as you manage it well, you should expect a long, healthy life.

Read the Advances in HIV Treatment: Understanding ART article > >

Studies are under way to determine why some people either do not become infected with HIV or, if they do, why they do not develop symptoms or lose CD4+ cells. Research has shown that:

  • Some people's CD4+ cells are relatively resistant to HIV. If HIV cannot attach itself to CD4+ cells, it cannot destroy them.
  • Some people's immune systems may be better able to destroy the virus.
  • Some strains of HIV may not be as harmful.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Last Revised December 9, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 09, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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