How Long Can a Person With Aids Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: About 8-55 Years

AIDS or the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome first surfaced in the year 1981 when it was reported that a number of homosexual men had capitulated to the incurable and rare infections that spread through their bodies. This virus has now become of the most life devastating diseases to which around 25 million have succumbed in four decades. It is now being termed as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1).



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AIDS is a serious condition that occurs after the person comes in contact with HIV-1. After the initial infection, there might not be many symptoms. After a prolonged period, there might be some influenza-type illness that doesn’t seem to be very dangerous. But in the meanwhile, the virus deteriorates the immune system of an individual exposing him to very dangerous diseases.

How Long Can a Person With Aids Live

How Long Can a Person With Aids Live?

Contrary to the common belief, a person suffering from AIDS doesn’t die within a short span. There cannot be a generalized period of time until which AIDS patients can live as there are a number of factors upon which their survival depends upon. Some of the major factors on which their survival depends are:

No Treatment

AIDS is a deadly disease as it directly affects the immune system of an individual. This leads to increased chances of common diseases like Tuberculosis, tumors, and many more that are life-threatening. Thus, it can lead to a decrease in the lifespan of a patient as a patient suffering from AIDS, without any proper treatment can live hardly for about 8 yrs.

Having serious ailments in the past

If a person suffering from AIDS has been having a serious disease in the past, it leads to possess a serious threat to the life of the patient and thus, immediate treatment is required to cure it. If treatment is not done at the right time, it might lead to the death of the patient. Thus, such ailments have a negative impact on the health of individuals suffering from AIDS.


Currently, there is no proper vaccine or treatment meant especially for HIV-1. The current treatment that is available for patients is the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) which helps in slowing down the process of deterioration of the immune system. Hence, rapid detection of the infection in the initial stage can lead to improvement in the health conditions of the patient giving them a life span equal to that of an average human being free from AIDS, i.e., 55 yrs.

Summarizing the above points, we can see that,

Factors Affecting The Lifespan of a PatientLife Expectancy
No treatmentAbout 8 years
TreatmentAbout 55 years

Why Does It Take That Long To Live For a Person With AIDS?

HIV-1 can be easily spread through unprotected sex, whether oral or vaginal, with the affected person. When there is a transfer of mucous through infected needles, blood transfusion, or even from the mother to the child through breastfeeding and delivery, AIDS can be transmitted. Since the process of transmission of the disease is very easy, and no proper cure has been found for it, the individuals must be very aware of the virus.

HIV-1 is a very dangerous virus as it can kill the cells of the immune system of the infected person thus making it difficult for the body to fight any other foreign virus. After a person gets infected by HIV, some opportunistic infections like recurring pneumonia, brain and spinal cord disease, different types of lung infections, chronic intestinal infections are likely to attack the body. When this virus stays in the body for a longer period of time, it eventually weakens the immune system which has already been weak. Hence, the body becomes irresistible to the other foreign virus leading to the failure of organs and the death of the patient.

Among all the opportunistic infections that can attack the patient, tuberculosis possesses the highest amount of threat as it can directly lead to death. Thus, there is a need to prevent these infections by taking up proper treatment and precautions. People should use condoms while sex, whether oral or vaginal, get a vaccination, use a clean and disinfected needle, and use properly prepared and clean food.


After the emergence of this disease in 1981, there has been a significant development in the research of the disease. Some treatment, though not the proper one, has been found which has been able to grant the patients a life similar to that of an average human.

It can be noted that, since AIDS has been a disease of the recent past, not much has been found about it yet. As a result, we are left with not much evidence supporting how long a person with AIDS can live. But there are a number of factors other than the treatment like genes, nutrition, mental condition, lifestyle, social and economic conditions, and many more, that also affect the health of the patient.


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