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Question about recent study?
Nov 29, 2006

Dr. Daar,

Recently, a study was published about how expensive it is to treat someone with HIV over a lifetime. In it, the researchers, or whoever published it, used 24 years as the average time someone with HIV will live after being initially exposed. How did they arrive at that number? It seems arbitrary and contrary to what the doctors on this site say about a normal life expectancy if one is on medication.

I was exposed to HIV earlier this year and am on sutiva/truvada. Does this study mean that I should draw 24 tick marks on my wall and expect to go toes up after the last one is crossed out?

Someone else on this site asked one of the doctors about this study and te 24 years but I didn't really understand the answer.

Thanks.

Response from Dr. Daar

The type of study you refer to generally uses models to address specific questions. This is computer generated data based upon a variety of assumptions, rather than real numbers from individuals. The reality is that we have no good data defining how long people will live with HIV. Remember, potent therapy has only been around for approximately 10 years. Ultimately, how long any one person lives with HIV is likely to be related to there response to therapy and other factors that may contribute to their overall health such as diet, exercise, lipids and use of tobacco, illicit drugs and/or excessive amounts of alcohol.

Based upon what we have seen during the past 10 years using combination therapy many of us still believe that those doing well on antiretroviral therapy who are consistently taking their medications with close follow-up by an expert provider are unlikely to suffer the consequences of AIDS. Of course only time will tell but I would defintely not start marking up your walls.

Best, Eric


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