Science

New drugs boost life expectancy of HIV patients

12 May 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

Youngsters suffering from HIV who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) now have a near-normal life expectancy due to advancement in treatments, a study in Lancet suggests.

The study highlights the extraordinary success of newer drugs which are better at preventing the virus from replicating in the body and have fewer side effects.

Early treatment is essential to live a long and healthy life.

In context: New drugs allow near-normal HIV life expectancy

12 May 2017New drugs boost life expectancy of HIV patients

Youngsters taking new-age medication may live 10yrs more than earlier

Twenty-year-olds who began ART in 2010 may live 10 more years than those who started using it in 1996, according to projections in the University of Bristol study. Researchers looked into 88,500 people having HIV in Europe and North America who participated in 18 studies.
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Study: Newer drugs can push life-expectancy to 78 years

DetailsStudy: Newer drugs can push life-expectancy to 78 years

A 20-year-old patient who started ART after 2008 who has a low viral load and has undergone a year of treatment could have a life expectancy of 78 years, nearly the same as the general population.

The latest medicines don't allow the HIV virus to build up a resistance to the drugs.

Improved screening methods, prevention and better treatment of health issues also help.

Explained What is anti-retroviral therapy?

ART was first introduced in 1996 and comprises of three or more drugs which together prevent the HIV virus from replicating.

Hence, damage to the immune system by HIV can be averted.

The study indicates the progress made since the HIV epidemic in the 1980s.

ART have been described as "one of the greatest public health success stories of the past 40 years."

DetailsExpert hails ART and study's findings

Royal College of General Practitioners chair Prof Helen Stokes-Lampard said : "It's a tremendous medical achievement that an infection that once had such a terrible prognosis is now so manageable."

"We hope the results of this study go a long way to finally removing any remaining stigma associated with HIV," she added.

Success storyARTs allow HIV patients to lead healthy and normal life

28-year-old Jimmy Isaacs had discovered he's suffering from HIV three years ago.

He takes three ART drugs once a day and will have to keep consuming them his entire life.

"My health is absolutely fine. I'm eating healthily and drinking healthily," Isaacs said.

"It doesn't impact on my job and hasn't impacted on my social life either," he added.

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StatisticsMore HIV patients getting ART access every year

In 2015, an estimated 36.7 million people around the world are living with HIV/AIDS, 1.8 million of whom, are children; according to UNAIDS.

As of June 2016, an estimated 18.2 million HIV patients had access to ART as compared to 15.8 million in June 2015 and 7.5 million in 2010.

In 2000, less than a million HIV patients had ART access.