A study in The Lancet suggests
that young people taking the latest HIV drugs have a near-normal life
Researchers from the University of
Bristol looked at 88,500 HIV-positive people from Europe and North
America who had been involved in a medical study.
Fewer people who started antiretroviral
treatment (ART) between 2008 and 2010 died compared to people who
began treatment 10 years earlier.
Life expectancy for a twenty-year-old
patient who started ART after 2008 and responds well to the treatment
is similar to the general population at 78 years.
Newer drugs, the study's authors say,
have fewer side effects, are better at preventing the virus from
replicating and are less likely to fail due to the virus building a
resistance to the drug.
“It's a tremendous medical
achievement that an infection that once had such a terrible prognosis
is now so manageable, and that patients with HIV are living
significantly longer,” Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, who chairs
the Royal College of General Practitioners, told the BBC.
Doctors say intervention is key to
achieving a long and healthy life. But an estimated one in eight
people with HIV remain diagnosed.