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HIV Survival Increases with Antiretroviral Therapy

Still, patients only live two-thirds as long as general population

FRIDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Significant declines in mortality and an increase in life expectancy have been seen among HIV-positive patients using combination antiretroviral therapy, according to study findings published in the July 26 issue of The Lancet.

Robert Hogg, of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues estimated the benefit of combination antiretroviral therapy on mortality and life expectancy for HIV-positive patients. Life tables were constructed to estimate life expectancy for patients on combination antiretroviral therapy in 1996-1999, 2000-2002 and 2003-2005. The average number of years remaining to be lived and potential years of life lost were also calculated.

Among patients taking combination antiretroviral therapy, the researchers found that crude mortality rates decreased from 16.3 deaths per 1,000 person-years in 1996-1999 to 10 deaths per 1,000 person-years in 2003-2005. The investigators also found that potential years of life lost per 1,000 person-years decreased from 366 to 189 years, and life expectancy at age 20 years increased from 36.1 years to 49.4 years.

"Life expectancy in HIV-infected patients treated with combination antiretroviral therapy increased between 1996 and 2005, although there is considerable variability between subgroups of patients," the authors conclude. "A person starting combination therapy can expect to live about 43 years at 20 years of age, about two-thirds as long as the general population."

Funding provided by GlaxoSmithKline.

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