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Medical News

UK Study Shows How Better HIV Drugs Extend Lives

October 14, 2011

Life expectancy in UK residents treated for HIV infection grew by over 15 years during 1996-2008, largely due to earlier diagnosis and treatment with better, less toxic drugs, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed data from the UK Collaborative HIV Cohort Study, focusing on patients age 20 and older who initiated antiretroviral therapy with at least three drugs, at a CD4 count of 350 cells/mm3 or less, during 1996-2008. Of 17,661 eligible patients, 1,248 died during the period. Researchers calculated the additional years that a study patient could expect to live after age 20.


Life expectancy for an HIV patient at age 20 increased from an additional 30 years to almost 46 years between 1996-99 and 2006-08. The average life expectancy for female patients was 10 years higher than for males. At age 20, male HIV patients receiving treatment could expect to live about 40 additional years, and women with HIV 50, compared with 58 and nearly 62 additional years for men and women in the general population. However, "Starting antiretroviral therapy later than guidelines suggest resulted in up to 15 years' loss of life," the authors wrote.

"These results are very reassuring news for current patients and will be used to counsel those recently found to be HIV-positive," said study co-leader Mark Gompels of the North Bristol National Health Service Trust.

"We should expect further improvements for patients starting antiretroviral therapy now with improved modern drugs and new guidelines recommending earlier treatment," said co-leader Margaret May of Bristol University.

The complete open-access study, "Impact of Late Diagnosis and Treatment on Life Expectancy in People with HIV-1: UK Collaborative HIV Cohort (UK CHIC) Study," was published in the British Medical Journal (2011;doi:10.1136/bmj.d6016).

Back to other news for October 2011

Adapted from:
10.12.2011; Kate Kelland

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Research on Life Expectancy and HIV/AIDS

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