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What happens if I wait to start treatment?

There may be people out there that think well, you know, I got diagnosed, you know I can wait a little while.
The best analogy I could create is around high blood pressure and HIV.
It’s one of those things where if you don’t start HIV treatment, the virus is going to continue reproducing. It’s going to continue attacking your T-cells. It’s going to continue destroying them. And then the viral load is going to go higher and higher and higher.
You may not feel it at all. So you may be walking around doing fine. It’s very similar to how you could have high blood pressure for years and you don’t know but it’s damaging the blood vessels in your eyes, your heart, your kidneys, it’s causing all kinds of problems. HIV works the same way where you may feel fine for a few years but eventually there’s going to be some damage done that you won’t be able to come back from. So again I think the take home message from me that I would send out to people is that even if you’re feeling 100 percent fine and you’re not feeling sick at all, I can guarantee you that the virus is working overtime to damage your immune system and your body.

Dr. David Malebranche, MD, MPH, a clinician-researcher specializing in HIV, gives the lowdown on all things HIV care and treatment in the latest installment of the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.