The Swiss HIV Cohort Study presented additional data this year showing that life expectancy has increased another 34 years for a person who is on HIV treatment and in care.
Data were presented from comparing various life factors that influenced life expectancy in 16,532 HIV-positive people and 1,328,985 people from the general population. The results showed that life expectancy of a 20-year-old who tested positive during the early HAART era (1996-98) had increased from 20.8 years to 54.9 years within the current treatment era (2006-13).
In addition to being on treatment and staying in regular care, a person's level of education also affected these outcomes: higher education increased longevity to 60 years. For those with vocational or compulsory education, life expectancy increased slightly less to 53 years.
Although the same study showed a less robust increase in life expectancy in those who injected drugs or who smoked, the data showed that stopping either of them after testing HIV-positive still added years to a person's life: 5 additional years for those who stopped smoking and 7 more years for those who stopped injecting drugs.
Although this is good news for many living with HIV, there still remain many structural and societal barriers that prevent some individuals from gaining access to regular health care and HIV treatment worldwide. To truly improve the life expectancy of all people living with HIV requires solving barriers such as drug pricing, lack of transportation, poverty, gender inequality and stigma.
A Guilar, et al. Getting There? Life Expectancy by HIV Status and Education in Switzerland. 2016 International AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa. Abstract TUPEB031.