If you were diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the 1980s and 90s, then it was almost certain that it would develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which is a chronic, life-threatening condition that damages your immune system and prevents your body from adequately fighting infection and diseases.
Back then, chances of survival were quite poor, but a study published in the Annals of International Medicine is happy to report that the opposite is now true for Americans who live with HIV.
According to Jessie Edwards, lead author of the study and a research assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “Someone diagnosed with HIV in this day and age can be linked to care and receive highly effective treatment and feel confident that their survival outlook is actually very good.”
The research team studied the death rates of nearly 83,000 adults living with HIV between 1999 and 2017. They found that the difference in death rate between someone with HIV and someone without from 1999 to 2004 was 11 percent. However, after 2011, it went down to 2.7 percent.
What’s more, the study showed that young adults with HIV care between 18 and 34 were only one percent more likely to die over the next five years than their non-HIV counterparts.
Although the study is limited to cases in the US, the findings are reassuring. That said, Edwards emphasizes that there is still a gap. Another study author, Dr. Marshall Glesby, associate chief of infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, says that it’s important that the numbers in the study represent people in treatment.
“That’s important both from the perspective of the health of those individuals and also for the public health perspective, in terms of preventing transmission.”
Glesby continues, saying “There’s a lot of effort being put into addressing concerns about the adherence to antiretroviral therapy, which despite the simplification of regimens can still be a challenge for some people.” He hopes the research will help “make it even simpler for people to be dosed with antiretrovirals.”
Source study: Annals of Internal Medicine—Mortality among persons entering HIV care compared with the general US population.