Originally published on Advocate.com July 03 2008 12:00 AM ET
have improved the survival prospects of people with HIV or
AIDS to the point that death rates among the recently
diagnosed in industrialized countries have become
comparable to those never exposed to the virus,
according to a newly published European study.
show that before 1996, when combinations of antiviral
drugs became available, the death rates for HIV-infected
patients were 41 times higher than the death rate of
people of comparable age not exposed to the virus in
10 European nations and Australia.
Death rates fell
dramatically by 1997, to 31 times the norm, and
continued dropping until they reached six times the norm by
Among a subgroup
of HIV-positive people, those diagnosed and treated with
the latest anti-HIV drug cocktails since 1999, the analysis
found virtually no difference in death rates between
them and uninfected people of similar age.
By 2006, deaths
attributed to AIDS had fallen 94% compared with pre-1996
levels, said the study authors, led by Kholoud Porter of the
Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit in
Their work, which
analyzed the records of more than 16,000 patients, was
published Tuesday in The
Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study did
warn that there was an increased risk of death for
HIV-infected people of all ages based on the amount of time
they have been living with the virus. (The