Medical advances mean HIV patients more likely not to die with AIDS

– David Grahm
“You can’t live your life with a gun to your head,” says 52-year- old Gary, who tested positive for HIV in 1985. “At some point, you have look away and get on with things.”

While Gary is rigorous about his drug routines and follows his doctor’s orders, he no longer waste time speculating about when he will die.
“I stopped asking my doctors how long I had to live 20 years ago,” says the Toronto house painter. (Gary asked us not use his last name.) “And I stopped paying attention to survival time statistics because, especially in the beginning, it was a pretty safe assumption that I wasn’t going to live very long.”
A Lot Has changed since then. Not only are people living longer with HIV, in the findal analysis most of them will not die of AIDS at all.
Research confirms that, in the developed world, AIDS has been transformed from a lethal disease into a chronic and manageable condition.
A recent study lead by Bruce Schckman, an assistant professor of public health at New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College, found that someone diagnosed with the AIDS virus who receives treatment can expect to live about 24 years on average.
That’s good news, considering that, 1993, the average life expectancy for a symptom-less person infected with HIV was less than seven years.
A similar Danish study on HIV survival times conducted between 1995 and 2005 was presented last year at the XVI international AIDS conference in Toronto. The study found that, in Denmark, someone who is newly diagnosed with HIV at age 25 is now expected to live to age 63, or age 57 if the patient is also infected with hepatitis C.
“The patients can now, on a long term perspective, plan their professional career, join a pension plan and start a family,” the researchers say….
Courtesy: Toronto Star, November 10, 2007

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