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HIV: Nonprogressors and HIV-Resistant People - Topic Overview

A few people with HIV are described as nonprogressors. These people have HIV that does not progress to more severe symptoms or disease, but they can still spread HIV. 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. These people are never infected, so they can't spread HIV.

Recommended Related to HIV/AIDS

HIV Testing: What You Need to Know

Wondering if you should get an HIV test? The answer is: Yes. "Everybody needs to be tested for HIV at least once," says Brad Hare, director of the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital. Fortunately, HIV testing is easier, quicker, and more accurate than it used to be. And because HIV treatment is more effective these days, getting tested isn’t as scary.

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Studies are under way to determine why some people either don't become infected with HIV or, if they do, why they don't 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.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 05, 2012
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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