Why Do HIV Life Expectancy Estimates Seem Inconsistent? (Editor's Pick)

Question

Hello Doctor,

I have read two posts from you that seem to contradict one another regarding life expectancy of HIV+ people. Both answers came on June 5th 2015. In the first reply you tell a person that life expectancy for someone who is diagnosed at 20 is somewhere around 70+ years and in another you tell another person that a 50 year old has a 5 to 10 year prognosis. I was hoping that you could help explain this variation in life expectancy? Are people likely to live to 70+ or 60? Thank you for your time and attention.

Answer

Both estimates are just that-estimates (not based on actual experience) from differing data sets. I didnt mean in trying to answer two different questions to create the confusion you cite. Overall=Older persons have a shorter additional life expectancy than younger persons whether HIV+ or not--that was the only point I was trying to make. Studies on life expectancies again provide only estimate and have to be taken viewed as only a projection and projections on that subject have differed based on the population analyzed (US versus non US, also with hepatitis C or IV drug use or high percentage of smokers and many other factors which influence actuarial projections). KH