Life expectancy

Question

Doctor Young thank you for all you do. Life expectancy! I am sure you've answered this a ton but what is the deal with all the different information... Today "The Body" had an article saying the average age of death for both genders with HIV was 50 years old. If you search "Life expectancy HIV In Canada" there was a study released this August saying the average is to 65 years old. Others are saying same as regular life expectancy and other doctors are saying 10-15 years behind....

Answer

Hello and thanks for posting.

There's a lot of information coming in on life expectancy projections for people living with HIV. The average age of death among people living with HIV isn't 50, 50 is the estimated additional years of life.

The best study (and the one that I quote frequently) on this topic comes from the
NA-ACCORD group which reports estimated life expectancy for a 20 year old man in Canada or the US- which through 2007, on average was an additional 51 years; meaning that the average person could expect to live to age 71- this is near the average life expectancy for a HIV-negative person of 77 years.

Know that things continue to improve, and it's clear that earlier diagnosis and initiation of treatment is likely to improve life expectancy further.

I tell my patients not to shoot for the average, but aim for above average life expectancy, with similarly above average quality of life. It's entirely possible.

Hope that helps. Be well, BY