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how many people die from HIV in 2008 (HIV/AIDS SURVIVAL)
Sep 6, 2008

Hi Bob, l am recently infected with hiv and and live in Australia, 36 years old and my hiv specialist told me hardly no one dies of hiv-aids anymore in Australia, he said maybe 10% of pepole with HIV die in 2008 in auz, but people infected in 2008 with a CD4 of 350 and start treatment early, will have a healthy normal life span with todays and future treatment, without hep b and c.. l read that with todays treatment a 20 year old can live at least 40 years on meds is this true ???

Dr Bob you are one man that tells it as it is... please what is your information and opinion on the above...

thank you for your time, you are my hero Dr bob for prez of america

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey there Aussie Dude (or Dudette?),

How many people die from HIV in 2008? Well, if you are asking how many HIV/AIDS-related deaths will occur worldwide (or in the Land Down Under) in 2008, we obviously don't know yet, because it's only September, silly boy (or gal). The most recent actuarial data we have is for the year 2006. That year, an estimated 2.9 million people worldwide succumbed to the pandemic.

However, I tend to doubt that is the real emphasis of your query, right? I assume you're more interested in prognosis, wondering more how many of us will live rather than how many of us are going to be pushing up daisies any time soon. This is a difficult question to answer definitively, as none of us (even Professor Trelawney from the Harry Potter series) has an infallible crystal ball that accurately predicts the future. What we can say with great confidence and a grand sigh of relief is that HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence with a short shelf life, at least for those of us fortunate enough to have access to antiretroviral medications and HIV-knowledgeable health care providers. I realize many well-meaning folks in the HIV/AIDS health care field have made the prediction that HIV/AIDS is now a "chronic manageable illness" and those infected should expect to live "a normal lifespan." Well, I'm perhaps the most optimistic person on the planet, but I'm also a scientist and realist. As such, I can't really claim that we have good data to support this claim. What information we do have clearly demonstrates that the introduction of potent antiretroviral agents in the mid-1990s has been nothing short of miraculous in decreasing AIDS-related morbidity (illness) and mortality (death). These drugs are literally life sustaining, but they are not curative! As I mentioned, nearly three million lives were snuffed out by the virus in 2006! Antiretroviral agents offer us a reprieve from HIV-related illness and death. How long the reprieve will last is still unknown. Years ago, we used to say the average life expectancy was 10 years from the time of diagnosis to death for HIVers. That was an average with a wide-shaped bell curve encompassing that 10-year mark, because patients often don't get diagnosed with HIV at the time they actually contract the virus. In fact, many don't get diagnosed for years and years afterward when their immune system is already shot to hell (or heaven?). Certainly, HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) changed this 10-year statistic in a very dramatic fashion. In fact, in 2006, there was a statistical calculation of projected life expectancy for young hypothetical HIV-infected patients. This computer model estimated 24-year survival. But again, this was only a computer-generated model, not real life HIVers. But it in essence doubled our previous "10 year" estimate. We also have a case-control, population-based cohort study of all HIV-infected persons receiving care in Denmark. Denmark, unlike the U.S., has universal health care that delivers quality HIV care and medications to all who need them at no cost!!! An epidemiological study of Denmark's HIVers revealed a median survival time of 32.5 years for 25-year-old HIVers infected between 2000 and 2005. If we excluded those co-infected with hepatitis C, that median survival number increased to 38.9 years! Great news, eh? However, it's still not as good as age-matched controls that did not have HIV or hepatitis C. Their median survival was 51.1 years! So the message is clear. Let's all pack our bags and move to Denmark! Well, in case that's not an option, because you would miss the kangaroos, koalas and that awful tasting vegemite stuff, what we can conclude from these studies is that life expectancy is dramatically improving from the bad 'ol days of the epidemic. And equally important is the fact that none of the studies can factor in the effect of new developments that will come online within the next decade or two. We've made incredible strides in the treatment of HIV over the past decade and should assume progress in new and novel therapies will continue to be forthcoming in the future. So should you plan on buying that piece of retirement property on the beach for your golden years? Well, as they say in Denmark, ya! ya betcha! (Oops, I think that's a slogan from the Scandinavian Midwest, but you catch my drift, right?)

Be well and let's get through this together, OK?

Cheers Mate!

Dr. Bob



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