Increased Life Expectancy for Individuals with HIV

There is good news on the horizon from research done over the life expectancy of HIV-positive patients. It was not too long ago that a diagnosis with HIV meant a drastically shortened life span; therapies, treatments and other variables have, however, slowly been developing over the past few years, making a drastic impact on the health and overall well being of those living with HIV. Information culled from studies over the past decade now paints a positive picture of the present and a hopeful one for the future.

Over 10 years ago, a study followed 23,000 HIV-positive individuals of Canadian and American backgrounds. Researchers tracked the life expectancy of each as the years passed. All participants were being treated with antiretroviral therapy (or ART) and were over 20 years old. Past clinical and social information were also gathered to see what bearing this would have on one’s mortality. Factors such as drug abuse, other illnesses and the time ART was started were all taken into consideration. The results were positive: In general, those being treated with ART for HIV were showing to have a life expectancy catching up to that of the general public.

10 years ago, the life expectancy of an HIV-positive person was around 50 years. Today, however, it is at nearly 70 years or greater. A healthy lifestyle, such as one devoid of drug abuse, is one reason for this increase. Another major factor is beginning ART early on, particularly when viral counts are lower. Both these things combined greatly increase one’s chances of living a full and healthy life. Advancements are being made and payoffs are beginning to show, with the future looking up for those who are HIV positive.