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HIV life expectancy 15 years up

The life expectancy of people with HIV has increased by 15 years thanks to improved treatments over the past 13 years, a University of Bristol study has found.

Their analysis shows that further years of life expectancy for an average 20-year-old infected with HIV increased from 30 years to almost 46 between the periods 1996-9 and 2006-8.

The findings, published in the BMJ, also show that life expectancy for women treated for HIV was 10 years’ higher than for men. During the period 1996-2008, the average 20-year-old man with HIV was expected to live another 40 years, and the average woman 50 years, compared with 58 years for men and nearly 62 years for women in the general UK population.

However the researchers stressed the importance of identifying HIV-positive individuals early to avoid the very large negative impact that starting antiretroviral therapy after late diagnosis has on life expectancy.

Dr Mark Gompels, lead clinician and co-author, North Bristol NHS Trust, said: ‘These results are very reassuring news for current patients and will be used to counsel those recently found to be HIV-positive.’