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Life Expectancy?

Oct 5, 2017

For years the standard answer to life expectantcy for an HIV positive individual with suppressed viral load and no co morbidities has been less than the general public with explanation given that there are other than associated habits, illegal drug use, smoking etc. similar vices that an HIV negative person could have. It would seem that a cohort of HIV positive people who adhere to their medications, are suppressed, get routine evaluations by their HIV providers maintain a relatively healthy life style should actually have a HIGHER life expectancy because of greater awareness of health issues. I have been HIV Pos for 10 years, suppressed and tolerating my meds for 8. I am 67 and according to the surveys should already be dead. Are there surveys that compare healthy HIV positive suppressed individuals with the same HIV negative with no co morbidities or other unhealthy habits? Comparing a healthy HIV pos suppressed individual with co morbidities and other "Vices" with a HIV negative without them is comparing apples to oranges. This also continues the stigma that prevents HIV pos suppressed people from getting life insurance etc.

Response from Mr. Jacobs

I am very happy to read accounts of people living long and healthy lives with and without HIV. Your ability to be virally suppressed and take care of your health throughout your 60s is a wonderful message of resiliency, strength, and hope for us all.

So far, none of the data suggests that people living with HIV have a higher life expectancy than their HIV negative cohort. However, the newer studies have shown that there is no longer a significant difference between the two statuses (http://www.thebody.com/content/79937/life-expectancy-for-people-with-hiv-nearly-matches.html). Of course one's personal life expectancy varies greatly by geographic region, socio-economic status, genetic history, etc. But someone like yourself, living with HIV, taking their medications, seeing their doctors regularly, reducing or minimizing illicit drug use and smoking, can expect to live well into their 70s and beyond. Life expectancy for the general population of people living with HIV is still a bit lower but only by about eight years (http://www.thebody.com/content/77527/how-long-can-you-live-with-hiv-very.html).

I completely agree with you about stigma. When it comes to getting life insurance, there is no rational reason for someone living with HIV to be denied, especially when you see that life expectancy for people living with HIV keeps trending upward. Sadly, life insurance companies are not known for implementing policies that reflect science. As we speak there are people on PrEP (pre-exposure prophalaxis) who have been denied life insurance because they use Truvada, and one such case is currently being disputed in the courts (http://www.thebody.com/content/76447/lawsuit-challenges-denial-of-insurance-to-gay-man-.html).

Fortunately, some life some insurance companies do now cover people living with HIV. For a review and synopsis, take a look at this report: https://lifeinsurancebyjeff.com/life-insurance-for-people-with-hiv-positive/

Your logic makes perfect sense to me, perhaps not as much to the folks making insurance policies. But the most important point here is that you and so many others are taking exquisite care of your body, finding ways to live healthy, and defiantly teaching those who predict you "should" be dead that limited minds neither help nor enhance our quality of life.



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