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Survival Rates for AIDS

Amazing statistic: average survival lifescan after AIDS diagnosis in USA is 24 years (it was 10 years over a decade ago).

A decade ago, I did volunteer work for AIDS care teams, and patients were dropping away fairly quickly. (One of them dropped off within weeks of diagnosis). Of course, I was working with terminally ill patients. On the other hand, people’s outcomes were unpredictable. One of my most colorful patients was 50-55 years old, and had already outlasted his friends. He may still be alive for all I know.

I remember a doctor predicting in 1992 that there may never be a cure for AIDS, but it may be controllable (in much the same way as diabetes, for example).  These long survival rates is a testament to the massive worldwide attention given to AIDS.  I’m not sure whether survival rates in Africa compare to that of US (surely it is smaller). On the other hand, medical information travels lightning fast.  African nations might not be able to afford the latest antiretroviral medications, but medical research can shed insight into more effective ways to use existing remedies.  In the early 1990’s, an AIDS researcher found that AZT (while not terribly effective for AIDS patients) was incredibly effective in preventing transmission from mother to child.  In no time at all, this knowledge spread to Africa and Asia, preventing infection of possibly millions of children.

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