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Drugs increase life expectancy among HIV patients

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Antiretroviral treatment has increased life-expectancy of HIV patients by an average of 13 years, a study has shown.

Findings show life expectancy of HIV patients aged 20 years has increased from 36.1 years to 49.4 years since antiretroviral therapies were introduced last decade.

However, life expectancy for HIV positive patients was still only two thirds of that in the general population.

The analysis was based on 43,355 HIV infected patients across Europe and North America.

Research was carried out between 1996 and 2005, looking at life-expectancy after the introduction of the drugs in the time scales 1996-9, 2000-2 and 2003-5.

Patients involved were 16 years or over and new to antiretroviral treatment at the beginning of therapy.

Report authors said: ‘These advances in treatment have transformedHIV from being a fatal disease, which was the reality forpatients before the advent of combination treatment,into a long-term chronic condition.’

Lancet (2008) 372: 293-99

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