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HIV therapy has reduced death rates

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Modern antiretroviral therapy means that people infected with HIV are far less likely to die, a study has shown.

A study of 16,534 patients over the last 24 years looked at patient mortality rates in patients on antiretroviral drugs during defined calendar periods: pre 1996 and thereafter in two year periods.

Compared with the rest of the population, probability of death over the 10 years following start of antiretroviral therapy decreased from 42.2% in the first period to 5.4% in 2004-2006, when the last data was gathered.

Authors said there was a 94% reduction in excess mortality over the course of the study, although there was still a significantly increased risk of death compared with the rest of the population.

‘The risk of death in the first five years following seroconversion was similar to that of the general population, with the excess probability of death becoming apparent only later in the course of the infection,’ authors wrote.

Journal of the American Medical Association (2008) 300:51-59

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