HIV Cocktail Raises Life Expectancy

HIV patients that take a specified “cocktail” of drugs demonstrate a significant increase in life expectancy, according to a recent study.

The drug mixture used on 43,355 patients is called combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). cART was introduced in 1996, which allows a proper analysis on it’s life expectancy effects to be done at present (because of established general life expectancies for those with HIV not taking cART).

According to study author Dr. Michael Mugavero, “Since their introduction in 1996 cART regimens have become more effective, better tolerated and easier to follow.” More specifically, an increase in life expectancy of 13.8 years on average (36.1 years to 49.9 years) was observed in those taking cART. As an example, an HIV patient beginning cART at 20 years of age is expected to live until 63 years of age, while the same patient is expected to die before the age of 50 without taking cART. It was noted by the authors that cART is not as effective if started in the later stages of HIV infection. Further long-term research must be done that more comprehensively demonstrates how effective cART is, but these results are very promising.

Source: Defeat Diabetes Foundation: Mugavero, Michael. Goodman, Troy. Lancet news release. July 2008.