HAART increases HIV-positive people's life expectancy by average of 13 years

HIV-positive people in wealthy countries using highly active antiretroviral therapy now live an additional 13 years on average, but a large disparity in life expectancy remains between HIV-positive people on HAART and the general population, according to a study published Friday in the journal Lancet, Reuters reports.

For the study, Robert Hogg of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and colleagues examined 14 ongoing studies of 43,000 people in the U.S., Canada and several European countries who use HAART. The study found that between 1996 and 1999 and 2003 and 2005, there was an approximately 13-year increase in life expectancy for HIV-positive people who used HAART at age 20. Similar gains were recorded for people age 35 living with the virus and taking HAART, the study found (Fox, Reuters, 7/24). The study also found that people who contracted HIV through injection drug use had a shorter life expectancy at an additional 32.6 years, compared with those from other groups who had on average an additional 44.7 years. Women had a slightly longer life expectancy than men -- 44.2 additional years compared with 42.8 additional years for men -- which might be because women on average tend to start their treatment earlier, the study found (PA/Google.com, 7/24).

According to the study, despite the overall increase in survival chances, a large gap in life expectancy remained between people on HAART and the general population. In developed countries, an HIV-positive person who begins treatment at age 20 will on average live another 43 years, while an HIV-negative person will survive to around age 80. The researchers noted that the mortality figures in the study are not detailed enough to explain the discrepancy. Given that most HIV-positive people are younger than age 50, there is no data to compare survival rates among older HIV-positive people with HIV-negative people, the researchers added (AFP/Google.com, 7/24).

Jonathan Sterne -- a professor at Bristol University's Department of Social Medicine and co-author of the study -- said, "These advances have transformed HIV from being a fatal disease, which was the reality for patients before the advent of combination treatment, into a long-term chronic condition." He added that the development is a "testament" to the success of antiretroviral drugs.

Marc Thompson, deputy head of health promotion at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said, "HIV medication has become much more effective since the early days." He added, "There has been great progress, but research needs to continue, especially for those who have developed resistance to some drugs and are running out of options." Thompson noted that the study also highlighted the need for early diagnosis. Deborah Jack of the National AIDS Trust said, "Hopefully, this study will encourage more people to come forward for testing but we need to better educate doctors about the signs and symptoms to look for." She added, "Society also needs to catch up with the fact that HIV is a long-term condition that thousands of people in the U.K. are living with every day. HIV is not deserved of the fear or stigma that still surrounds it" (BBC News, 7/24).

An abstract of the study is available online.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


  1. Kerry Kings Kerry Kings Cambodia says:

    Good day. Sorry to say, I meet a bar girl unfortunately i had sex with her with out condom once,after having the sex i took 48hours ant-HIV prevention drugs, then i had the sex with her on September 4. i went for hiv test the same september it was negative, i did another hiv test on october it was negative, and november 4 i did again another test in two clinic all came out negative,which it total of 64 days after having unprotected sex with her. but the worst of it all the lady i had sex with i called her to meet me in the clinic i have hot body,cold and itching inside my vain, after i had a dream when i am talking about Hiv- aids with my mom and friends, so i remembered i had sex with her.unprotected. so i have to visit the doctor, then after she was test positive OMG. i was so shock even up to this moment, since i dont have any of this hiv symptom, such a rash,cough, headache,sore throat, high fever, my fever tested was 37c. but the doctor said i have low white blood cell. that i have Dengue, then i was treated after two days my white blood cell is normal again, but how come my partner is positive they did her all kinds of Hiv test, Elisa,RNA seros all came out positives. so i calculate from the date we had sex up to 62 days i am still negative, can it be the hiv prevention drugs did it or the virus it not yet in my blood or i cant contact it with once having sex with her. at september i had urine infection came out positive, ask the doctor to include the Hiv test on it, i treated it then did another test came out negative, but i am still nervous. i want to know how many days or month can one contact hiv after having unprotected sex, after the treatment of dengue now. i have ask the laboratory test of hepatitis A,B,C.. including jaundice. all STD infection test gonorrhea,syphilis all negative but still afraid, i want an advices urgently please

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