The latest treatments for HIV mean that young people living with the virus could live up to a decade longer, a new study says. The paper, published Wednesday, found that 20-year-olds who started with antiretroviral therapy in 2010 are predicted to live up to 10 years longer than those who first underwent similar treatment in 1996 — when it first became widely available. Researchers at Bristol University in the UK said the improvements are due to fewer side effects and less toxic drugs with greater options for patients who are infected with drug-resistant HIV strains.
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The researchers analysed 18 European and North American studies involving 88,504 people with HIV who started ART between 1996 and 2010. Fewer people who started treatment between 2008-2010 died during their first three years of treatment than those who started treatment between 1996-2007. Trickey’s team said when they looked specifically at deaths due to AIDS, the number during treatment declined over time between 1996 and 2010, probably because more modern drugs are more effective in restoring the immune system.
As a result, the researchers said that between 1996 and 2013, the life expectancy of 20-year-olds treated for HIV increased by nine years for women and 10 years for men in the European Union and North America. This suggests that life expectancy of a 20-year-old who began ART from 2008 onwards and responded well to it would get close to a life expectancy of the general population – 78 years.
See the full study at The Lancet.