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Life expectancy in HIV positive people in the US still lags 13 years behind HIV negative people
Gus Cairns, 2016-02-28 13:50:00

A study presented at the CROI 2016 conference comparing life expectancies of HIV-positive and HIV-negative people within the Kaiser Permanente health insurance system has found that although life expectancy in HIV-positive people has improved, life expectancy at age 20 remains 13 years behind that of matched HIV-negative people. This 13-year gap did not improve between 2008 and 2011, the last year of follow up in this cohort study.

The study was also able to compare life expectancies in both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people in the US general population, thus finding the contribution of HIV to reduction in life expectancies in the US. HIV takes off two years from life expectancy in the general population but more in some groups, notably five years in men.

The researchers also looked at risk factors for mortality and were able to calculate life expectancy if these were absent. Starting ART early, not having hepatitis B or C, and not having a history of drug and alcohol problems all raised life expectancy; but the biggest difference was due to smoking. Nonetheless even HIV-positive people who had never smoked had a life expectancy over five years lower than HIV negative people.