Life ex­pectancy of HIV pa­tients up by 10 years

New Straits Times - - World -

LON­DON: Life ex­pectancy for young HIV-pos­i­tive adults has risen by 10 years in the United States and Europe, thanks to im­prove­ments in AIDS drugs known as an­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy, re­searchers said yes­ter­day.

This meant many pa­tients could ex­pect to live as long as those with­out HIV, ac­cord­ing to their study pub­lished in The Lancet med­i­cal jour­nal.

The sci­en­tists said the im­prove­ments were likely due to the transition to less toxic medicine com­bi­na­tions, with more drug op­tions for peo­ple in­fected with drug-re­sis­tant HIV strains, and bet­ter ad­her­ence to treat­ment.

“Our re­search shows how im­proved HIV treat­ments cou­pled with screen­ing, preven­tion and treat­ment of health prob­lems linked to HIV in­fec­tion can ex­tend the life­span,” said Adam Trickey, who led the re­search at Bri­tain’s Uni­ver­sity of Bris­tol.

An­tiretro­vi­ral ther­apy, or ART, first be­came widely used in the mid 1990s. It in­volves a com­bi­na­tion of three or more drugs that block the HIV virus’ repli­ca­tion. This helps pre­vent and re­pair dam­age to the im­mune sys­tem caused by the HIV, and also pre­vents on­ward spread of the dis­ease.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends ART be given as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter di­ag­no­sis to ev­ery­one with HIV.

The re­searchers an­a­lysed 18 Euro­pean and North Amer­i­can stud­ies in­volv­ing 88,504 peo­ple with HIV who started ART be­tween 1996 and 2010.

Fewer peo­ple, who started treat­ment be­tween 2008 and 2010, died dur­ing their first three years of treat­ment than those who started treat­ment be­tween 1996 and 2007.

Trickey’s team said when they looked at deaths due to AIDS, the num­ber dur­ing treat­ment de­clined over time be­tween 1996 and 2010, prob­a­bly be­cause more mod­ern drugs were more ef­fec­tive in restor­ing the im­mune sys­tem.

As a re­sult, the re­searchers said be­tween 1996 and 2013, the life ex­pectancy of 20-year-olds treated for HIV in­creased by nine years for women and 10 years for men in the EU and North Amer­ica.

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

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