In recent years, life expectancies for people living with HIV have jumped up dramatically with increased access to ever more-effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). A new study of people receiving care from the Kaiser Permanente health system in California has found that between 1996/1997 and 2011, the life expectancy of people living with HIV after age 20 has increased by 178% -- from 19.1 years to 53.1 years.
"These findings confirm that ART has had a substantial impact on the survival of HIV patients, and suggest that early ART initiation and risk reduction strategies, such as smoking cessation, may further reduce the remaining gap in survival relative to HIV-uninfected individuals," said Marcus and colleagues.
This study is significant because it directly compared the life expectancies and measures of health of people living with HIV and HIV-negative people with equal access to health care (i.e., who were all receiving care from Kaiser Permanente in California). The researchers were able to compare similar people based on demographic information (gender, race and ethnicity) and measures of health like hepatitis infection history, CD4 count and use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
This excerpt was cross-posted with the permission of BETAblog.org. Read the full article.