HIV life expectancy ‘near normal’ due to treatment advances

A study in The Lancet has found that young people diagnosed with HIV in the US and Europe now have a near normal life expectancy because of improvements in drug treatments.

Twenty-year-olds who started antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are projected to live 10 years longer than those first using it in 1996. This means many people can expect to live as long as those without the condition.

Antiretroviral therapy, or ART, first became widely used in the mid 1990s. The drugs block the HIV virus’ replication which helps prevent and repair damage to the immune system. They also work to reduce onward transmission.

Jason Warriner, Clinical Director at The Sussex Beacon said “The advances that have been made in HIV treatments are incredible. People diagnosed with HIV have gone from being told it was effectively a death sentence, to being told to expect a long, healthy life. Not only that, but the new drugs need fewer doses, have fewer side effects and can suppress the virus so much, it’s very difficult to pass on. The work that’s been done in this area is really something to be proud of.”

Prompt diagnosis and treatment is key to living a normal lifespan. Prevention campaigns, testing and treatment all work hand in hand to tackle HIV and reduce the number of new diagnoses. To find out where to take a test locally visit www.brightonsexualhealth.com

While many people now live well with HIV, The Sussex Beacon supports people with serious HIV related illnesses, cancer, or those with drug regime or mental health problems. There will be challenges ahead supporting a new generation of older people living with HIV as well – people aged over 50 now represent one in three of all those living with HIV.

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