People with HIV in the developed world are no more likely to die within five years of contracting the virus than are HIV-negative people, Reuters reports (, 7/2).

The study, published July 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who contract the virus sexually had the same mortality rate as HIV-negative people five years after infection, which can be attributed to advances in antiretroviral medication in the 1990s. People who contract HIV through other means, such as intravenous-drug use or other blood-to-blood contact, weren’t studied.

Researchers also found that mortality rates tend to rise in positive people after five years. They suggested that people become less likely to adhere to HIV regimens after that time or may develop resistance to medication.

According to the article, the British study followed 13,000 HIV-positive men and women for five years after their infection and compared that data to that of uninfected people in the same age and gender groups living in the same country at the same time.