The latest forecasts of life expectancy in people with HIV in
the UK, based on mortality data from the UK
Collaborative HIV Cohort (UK CHIC) study, show that the average life expectancy of people on
antiretroviral therapy (ART) with a CD4 count over 350 cells/mm3 is
now very close to the national average, the eleventh
International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection heard last week.
The UK CHIC study also found that life expectancy, which lags behind the
average in younger people, approaches normal as people age. There is
starting to be some evidence, though based on very small numbers of patient
records, that if people with HIV in the UK reach the age of 60, their life expectancy
may actually be starting to exceed the average, possibly because of superior
medical monitoring and treatment for people with HIV compared to other older
Life expectancy is a projection into the future of how much
longer people can expect to live, if current medical monitoring and treatment
remains unchanged and if nothing unexpected happens. Up till now, because both
HIV treatment and people’s health in general have been improving, life
expectancy has been increasing.
However another study from Australia, based on current rates
of treatment failure in people with HIV, warns that if antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimen failure
continues at the current rate, people with HIV could run out of treatment
options in later life. This would result in lower-than-expected life
expectancies and higher mortality as people with HIV age unless the average
time people achieve viral suppression on ART increases.