November 29, 2012
An Almost Normal Life Expectancy for People With HIV?
First the good news: People with HIV may enjoy life spans close to normal if they are on antiretroviral therapy, maintain low viral loads and CD4 counts above 350, are not coinfected with viral hepatitis, and are not injection drug users, according to a new study from the United Kingdom, aidsmap reports. Furthermore, those who survive past 60 may have life expectancies that surpass normal, thanks to the better overall health care monitoring they experience compared with the general population. Now the not-so-good news: An Australian study questions how solid such projections may be in the face of successive therapies failing over time, even in resource-rich countries. Both studies were presented at the 11th annual International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection in Glasgow.
The projections on life expectancy derive from the U.K. Collaborative HIV Cohort (UK CHIC) study, which is a database of 43,000 patient records collected from 20 of the United Kingdom’s largest HIV clinics. UK CHIC’s Margaret May, PhD, examined mortality data concerning people who began taking antiretrovirals (ARVs) after age 20 between 2000 and 2008, and she tracked them until 2010. As data points, the study took each patient’s CD4 count and viral load just before starting therapy and compared them with the last CD4 and viral load figures for each subsequent year. Final results were expressed as the number of subsequent years a patient could expect to live past his or her 35th birthday. The study excluded injection drug users.
In general, maintaining a higher CD4 count promised significant extra years of life. Five years into ARV treatment, 35-year-old male patients with counts between 350 and 500 could expect to live to 77—and to 81 if their CD4 counts were higher than 500. On the flip side, those who fail to develop a suppressed viral load would lose 11 years of life expectancy. And people whose CD4 counts remain below 200 after five years on ARVs could expect to live only to 55 on average.
Meanwhile, scientists at the University of New South Wales in Australia projected that, if current trends of treatment failure continue, people on ARVs may run out of effective therapies after an average of 43 years, with 10 percent of people running through the available options after about 23 years.
To read the aidsmap report, click here.
To read the British study abstract, click here.
To read the Australian abstract, click here.
Search: HIV, life expectancy, antiretrovirals, ARVs, CD4 count, viral load, coinfected, viral hepatitis, injection drug use, aidsmap, normal, 11th annual International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection, Glasgow, U.K. Collaborative HIV Cohort, UK CHIC, Margaret May.
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comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)
Pat Johnson, Austin, Texas, 2013-04-24 10:27:57
Being poz now for 30 years, I can say based on past experiences with various ARVs, clinical drug trials and doctors, the key to survival is finding the right ID doctor and right ARV regime.
The key points in my life with HIV/AIDS has been the access to care, something my community of Austin takes great pride in providing for us who are living with this disease.
Don't give up!
Michael, Fort Mill, 2013-03-25 10:57:21
to Andy, you need to recheck what you're been hearing. Read some package inserts for the ARVs to see how rar side effects actually are. Complications like you're insinuating happened with the early drugs not with most of the stuff on the market in the 10-15 yrs. As someone who has been infected for three decades, I'm no where near a "vegetable" and I am living with ZERO complications from Reyetaz/Truvada/Norvir.
Greg H., Davenport, FL, 2012-12-12 16:49:45
I suspect I was infected in the 70s. I tested + in 1985 when the test was available. I was fortunate to remain healthy long enough to make a difference, unlike my partner Dennis, and so many, many friends. I was on some of the first very toxic HIV meds, and feel that so much damage has been done with complications and side effects that I don't expect to be here in another 10 years. I feel very grateful for the time I've managed to have since 1985 when I was told I wouldn't see 40. I'm now 60!
Peteskier, Deltona FL, 2012-12-06 10:28:04
Being positive for 20 years I have found that if you take your medicine and listen to your body (eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are tired) and make healthy choices you are going to have a long life. If we are positive physically there is no reason why we can't be positivly mentally.
Andy, , 2012-12-01 13:25:23
Who cares? What kind of life do we have? We're constantly being told that ARVs are getting us to "near normal lifespan", followed by endless horror stories about complications, that we're going to be reduced to vegetables within a decade of infection, and that the host of other diseases we're afraid of is darn near unavoidable. We're hounded by a world that hates us and reduced to second class citizens. "Near normal life expectancy" is a completely hollow victory as we live it.
shawndell finney, garland, 2012-12-01 11:09:04
comments 1 - 6 (of 6 total)
Hi I'm HIV pos and have been for 13 years now my t-cell count is 1659 and undetectable viral load. I wanted to say I feel that if you take your meds then life will be longer. Also , I maintain my health with love and support of my savior in heaven Jesus Christ and my future spouse and all my facebook family and friends. Having a very positive mind set living with HIV is NOT a Death sentence. God bless from Texas!!!
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