Back in the 1980s, when a person was diagnosed with HIV, it typically meant a maximum of seven to nine years left of life. These diagnoses were painful death sentences for family and friends of individuals stricken with HIV.
However, today, the CDC estimates that if the virus is caught early on and the individual seeks proper treatment a person can live with HIV for an almost normal lifespan.
That said, proper treatment entails consistently seeing one's doctor and listening to their professional recommendations and advice. It also means, regularly taking antiretroviral medication (the medication prescribed to those suffering from HIV/AIDS or those who are trying to prevent a high-risk situation).
A person who follows these steps is estimated to live to old age – with roughly seven years shaved off a patient's life. This is the same estimated lifespan as a person who smokes a pack a day.