Study Finds Improved Life Expectancy for HIV-Positive People Receiving Treatment
July 28, 2008
HIV-positive people in wealthy countries using highly active antiretroviral therapy now live an additional 13 years on average, but a large disparity in life expectancy remains between HIV-positive people on HAART and the general population, according to a study published Friday in the journal Lancet, Reuters reports.
Jonathan Sterne -- a professor at Bristol University's Department of Social Medicine and co-author of the study -- said, "These advances have transformed HIV from being a fatal disease, which was the reality for patients before the advent of combination treatment, into a long-term chronic condition." He added that the development is a "testament" to the success of antiretroviral drugs.
Marc Thompson, deputy head of health promotion at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said, "HIV medication has become much more effective since the early days." He added, "There has been great progress, but research needs to continue, especially for those who have developed resistance to some drugs and are running out of options." Thompson noted that the study also highlighted the need for early diagnosis. Deborah Jack of the National AIDS Trust said, "Hopefully, this study will encourage more people to come forward for testing but we need to better educate doctors about the signs and symptoms to look for." She added, "Society also needs to catch up with the fact that HIV is a long-term condition that thousands of people in the U.K. are living with every day. HIV is not deserved of the fear or stigma that still surrounds it" (BBC News, 7/24).
An abstract of the study is available online.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.