A study from the University of Bristol revealed that people with HIV are now living almost as long as people without the disease.
The research gathered and analyzed data on the mortality rates among 88,504 patients over 16 years old who used antiretroviral therapy (ART) to treat their HIV from 1996 through 2013. The study checked in with patients every three years, and found a decrease in the mortality rate during these three year spans between those who started ART in 1996 and those who started ART in 2013.
The life expectancy for people with HIV in 1996 was 68 years—today it is 78 years. That is similar to the life expectancy of American men and about four years less than the life expectancy for American women.
ART is the preferred method of HIV treatment in the U.S. It is a mixture of multiple anti-viral medications, which slow the growth of HIV cells within the body, preventing the disease from causing more harm. ART can come with varying combinations of medicines, but is usually taken as one pill.
Since the study began, public knowledge of HIV and its treatment has increased. Although there is still no cure for the disease, many people with HIV can lead practically normal lives.
Photo: Wheeler Capperthwalte, CC-BY
Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.