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Can HIV be converted to AIDS within 5 years and kill the patient if they leave untreated?

Question: 

Hi. Iam making a short movie in which a 18 year old girl dies of AIDS within 5 years. She gets HIV due to rape. I wanted to show how a rape could affect a girl's life. But i doubt whether it can be ended in 5 yrs or not. Its a need in the film that I need to show within that short span of time. She dont eat properly, poor nutrition, depressed always about the rape and she never takes any treatment and she is ready to die. So will this be correct? please guide me with a specific answer. If we leave it untreated 5 yrs is possible right? I can't show more than that period..:(

Answer: 

Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline.

The current life expectancy for someone diagnosed with HIV who gets treatment is almost the same as someone who is not living with HIV. Someone who does not get any form of treatment would have a much shorter life expectancy but it would still likely be more than 5 years. Life expectancy for someone living with HIV would be very dependent on other lifestyle factors. Someone who has HIV and also has an unhealthy lifestyle (poor nutrition, drug use, poor hygiene, etc.) may have a shorter life expectancy than someone who does not get treatment but has a healthy lifestyle. However, it is possible for HIV infection to be present in the body for many years without affecting a person`s health.

It would be unlikely that someone would die as a result of HIV within 5 years of acquiring it, however, if they also had an extremely unhealthy lifestyle it may be a possibility but it would be more likely that they would die from something else related to their unhealthy lifestyle before dying of HIV.

For more information about HIV you can always visit the AIDS Vancouver website or CATIE.ca.

I hope this information helps to answer your questions.

Isla (Volunteer)

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday to Friday 10am - 4pm (PST)

Forum: www.helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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