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Life Expectancy for HIV+ Patients Up Since Introduction of ART

Physicians need to focus on encouraging patients to take their drugs consistently

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THURSDAY, May 11, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Young adults with HIV who get treatment are living longer in North America and Europe, according to a study published online May 10 in The Lancet HIV.

In fact, a 20-year-old with HIV who began antiretroviral treatment in 2008 or later and had a low viral load after a year of treatment has a life expectancy that's close to that of the general population -- around 78 years old, the study authors found. But life expectancy for people with HIV mostly remains lower than that of the general population.

"Our research illustrates a success story of how improved HIV treatments coupled with screening, prevention, and treatment of health problems associated with HIV infection can extend the life span of people diagnosed with HIV," lead author Adam Trickey, from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, said in a journal news release. "However, further efforts are needed if life expectancy is to match that of the general population."

Trickey said the focus needs to be on encouraging patients to take their drugs consistently. It's also important for people to be diagnosed earlier, and to diagnose and treat other conditions that can occur with HIV, such as hepatitis C. He said that treatment for addiction also needs to be available.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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