Dramatic turnaround for AIDS/HIV: No longer a death sentence
HIV patients who diligently take drugs live as long as the general population
What a difference 20 plus years makes - at one time an incurable disease, AIDS and HIV, the virus that causes the AIDS virus, is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Medical experts now say that the life expectancy of an HIV/AIDS patient receiving treatment is now approaching that of the general population.
It must be noted, however, that life expectancy is lower for people with a history of injecting drugs - as well as those with HIV that are in racial, ethnic minorities.
The life expectancies of nearly 23,000 individuals on ART - which consists of the combination of at least three anti-retroviral drugs to best suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease, were calculated based on mortality rates in the early to mid-2000s.
Conducted by the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design and the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, the study focused on those living with HIV and AIDS who were at least 20 years of age, or older. The study also included socio-demographic and clinical characteristics, such as drug use history and immune cell counts.
Published in the journal PLOS ONE, the study concluded that life expectancy at age 20 increased from 36.1 to 51.4 years from 2000-2002 to 2006-2007.
Men and women had comparable life expectancies in all periods except the last 2006 to 2007 period.
However, life expectancy was lower for individuals with a history of injection drug use, those who were non-white, and those who initiated ART with low CD4 count, compared to those who started at a higher count.
The results of this study suggest increasing longevity for individuals living with HIV in the U.S. and Canada. This in turn contributes to the growing medical evidence that HIV-positive people on ART have life expectancies approaching those in general populations.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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