U.S. News

Life Expectancy for North Americans With HIV Reaches Historic High

December 19, 2013

This article was reported by reported that a new study indicated that US HIV-infected gay men had a life expectancy of 77 years, the same lifespan given in 2009 to the average, uninfected American male. HIV-infected intravenous drug users and people of color lagged far behind, with life expectancies of 49 and 58, respectively. The overall life expectancy for HIV-infected North Americans was age 63. The study included the records of 23,000 US and Canadian HIV-infected patients with a variety of racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, collected from 2002 to 2007.

Kyle Murphy, assistant director of communications for the National Minority AIDS Council, noted that HIV-infected members of communities of color fared much worse than whites. Murphy attributed the disparity to late diagnosis and poor retention in care. Dr. Joel Gallant, chair of the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), agreed that race was not an independent factor in life expectancy for HIV-infected people. Instead, he cited "more infections from drug use and later presentation to care." Gallant stated that gay men tended to have regular HIV testing and to start antiretroviral therapy (ART) immediately. He added that more Americans now received HIV diagnoses at an older age because they had HIV testing less frequently.

Dr. Mark Smith, president of California HealthCare Foundation, emphasized that effective ART prevented not only the opportunistic infections that once killed HIV-infected patients, but also prevented HIV transmission. In November, HIVMA recommended new HIV treatment guidelines that emphasized routine preventive care for older HIV-infected patients.

The full report, "Closing the Gap: Increases in Life Expectancy Among Treated HIV-Positive Individuals in the United States and Canada," was published online in the journal PLOS ONE (2013; doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0081355).

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Gregory Freeman (St.Kilda Australia) Fri., Jan. 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm UTC
This is such a fantastic, feature, of modern HIV / AIDS treatment. I find that here in Australia, The Gay community (MEN only) are so divided on the issue of H.I.V even after 30 years. I still personally struggle with this fact, however now im more excited about the potential to pay lower premiums on my insurance.
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Comment by: mary soilex (los angeles, CA) Thu., Jan. 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm UTC
hooray...I SAY ist wunderfaul und claim a vikory for prudent god helath.
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Comment by: being human (maryland) Mon., Dec. 23, 2013 at 11:29 am UTC
I hope no government grants funded this. Life expectancy was determined by the virus in each person.
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Comment by: Greg F (St.Kilda, Australia) Sat., Dec. 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm UTC
What a fantastic development. When I was 13 and the movie Philidelphia was on TV, My mum sat me down, and said Greg, Please dont die like that. It was in the early 90's and people were scared. Well flashfoward to 2014 and I can now live to 77 years of age. Woo Hoo, This is a cause for me to throw a beach party. To think, I almost stopped taking my Isentress and Truvada reigme... Now I have to seriously think about extra insurance on the car and morgage.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: being human (maryland) Mon., Dec. 23, 2013 at 11:39 am UTC
Funny. When I was poz 10 years back in 1993. I thought I was going to die. So I quit my job, charged up the cards and partied for months. I didn't die. So I had to get another job to pay off everything, I did the past year. After 20 years in 2003. I figured surely, I wouldn't last that much longer. So I quit my job. charged up the cards and partied til there was no tomarrow. I didn't die. So I had to get another job and pay off all the credit cards again. After 30 years in 2013. I saw this article and cursed it since now I have to last another 27 years.So who here can figure out how Old I was when I became poz?

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