10-year lifespan gain for some HIV patients, study finds

Evrard Martin
Mai 12, 2017

"Between 1996-99 and 2008-10, life expectancy in people living with HIV starting [antiretroviral therapy] increased by around 10 years for both sexes, in Europe and North America", wrote the authors, who work at a variety of academic institutions through North American and Europe.

In a recent study at Bristol University in United Kingdom, a new drug discovered can fortunately add up to 10 years of life expectancy for the people suffering from HIV.

They put the success of the new treatments down to the newer drugs having fewer side effects and being better at preventing the virus from replicating in the body. More than 30 years of efforts to develop an effective vaccine for HIV have not borne fruit, but for the first time since the virus was identified in 1983, scientists think they have found a promising candidate. The latter makes it possible to prevent and fix damage inflicted on the immune system, courtesy of HIV. World Health Organization recommends ART for all people with HIV as soon as possible after diagnosis without any restrictions of CD4 counts.

The study authors looked at 88,500 HIV positive people from Europe and North America who were involved in a total of 18 studies.

They found that fewer people who started treatment after 2008 died during their first three years of treatment compared to those who began therapy between 1996 and 2007.

It showed that between 1996 and 2010, life expectancy in 20-year-old patients beginning ART increased by about 9 years in women and 10 years in men.

This suggests that life expectancy of a 20-year-old who began ART from 2008 onward and responded well to it would get close to a life expectancy of the general population - 78 years.

But for people infected with HIV through injecting drugs, life expectancy was not seen to increase as much, according to the study. A disease that was once a death sentence has become a chronic condition for people who have access to and the ability to stick with an HIV drug regimen.

People infected with the virus and starting treatment have chances to die during the first years of therapy, although the numbers have decreased.

Writing in a linked Comment, Ingrid T Katz, Brigham and Women's Hospital, USA, said: "The introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been one of the great public health success stories of the past 40 years". Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "It's a tremendous medical achievement that an infection that once had such a awful prognosis is now so manageable, and that patients with HIV are living significantly longer". 'Medical achievement" Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard, who chairs the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "It's a tremendous medical achievement that an infection that once had such a awful prognosis is now so manageable, and that patients with HIV are living significantly longer. The institution says that the massive expansion of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has reduced the number of individuals dying from HIV-related causes in the world to around 1.1 million in 2015, which was 45 percent fewer than in 2015. "People aged over 50 now represent one in three of all those living with HIV".

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