LONDON — A new study from the North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design has found that some groups of people with HIV, especially those treated before their CD4 count falls below 350 cells/mm3, now have life expectancies equal to or even higher than the general U.S. population, NAM AIDSmap, a British health information agency, reports.
The study looked at death rates among, and then computed life expectancy for, 22,937 people with HIV in the U.S. and Canada who started anti-retroviral therapy (ART) between the beginning of 2000 and the end of 2007. It compared their life expectancy at age 20 with the general population and noted how it had changed in the study’s eight years. A CD4 count of fewer than 200 cells/mm3 is one of the qualifications for an AIDS diagnosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Life expectancy at age 20 in the U.S. population is approximately 57 years in men (i.e. on average, and in the absence of further change, 50 percent will die by the age of 77) and 62 years in women (i.e. 50 percent chance of death by 82). In Canada, men can expect to live nearly three years longer than this and women, slightly more than two.
The study found that for the group as a whole and over the full eight years, the average life expectancy in people with HIV was just under 43 years, i.e. 50 percent will die by the age of 63 — 15 years earlier than men and 19 years earlier than women in the general U.S. population, AIDSmap reported.
However, there were huge disparities in life expectancies between different groups. Whereas people who inject drugs only had a life expectancy of 29 more years at age 20, for white people it was 52 years, for those starting treatment with a CD4 count above 350 cells/mm3 it was 55 years and for gay men it was 57 years – the same (or slightly higher) than in U.S. men in general.
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