Improved survival in HIV-infected persons: Consequences and perspectives

Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Central Jutland, Denmark
Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (Impact Factor: 5.31). 10/2007; 60(3):461-3. DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkm241
Source: PubMed


A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patient in 2007 has the option to commence an antiretroviral regimen that is extremely efficacious in suppressing the virus and has few side effects. In a recent study, we estimated the median remaining lifetime of a newly diagnosed 25-year-old HIV-infected individual to be 39 years. The prospect of a near-normal life expectancy has implications for the HIV-infected persons as well as for the handling of the disease in the healthcare system. The patients can now on a long-term perspective plan their professional career, join a pension plan and start a family. Further, they may expect to be treated equally with other members of society with respect to access to mortgage, health insurance and life insurance. As the infected population ages, more patients will contract age-related diseases, and the disease burden on some individuals may even come to be dominated by non-HIV-related conditions that may have a worse prognosis and therefore become more important than HIV-related conditions. Despite the improvements in antiretroviral therapy, there is still an excess mortality among HIV patients, which appears to be only partially attributable to immunodeficiency, with lifestyle factors potentially playing a pronounced role. Consequently, an effort to further increase survival must target risk factors for both HIV-related and -unrelated mortality. The continuation of the positive trend may be achieved by increased HIV testing, earlier initiation of antiretroviral therapy, improved drug adherence, prevention and treatment of HIV-unrelated co-morbidity and collaboration with other medical specialists to treat an ageing co-morbidity-acquiring HIV population.

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Available from: Nicolai Lohse
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