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HIV care saved 2 million years of life

HIV care saved 2 million years of life

Researchers at the Harvard University Medical School reported last week at the 12th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston that improvements in HIV care in the United States saved at least 2 million years of life between 1989 and 2003, Reuters Health reports. Had the estimated 280,000 HIV-positive people in the country that don't know that they are infected with the virus also received care during the same period, a total of 4 million years of life would have been saved, says lead researcher Rochelle Walensky. Most of the extra years of life were gained through the widespread availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy and by preventing mother-to-child HIV transmissions by administering anti-HIV medications to HIV-positive pregnant women and their infants. The benefits from improved HIV care significantly outpaced the number of years of life saved by improvements in treatment for other chronic diseases, including using chemotherapy for breast cancer, bone marrow transplantation for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and surgery for coronary artery disease, Walensky says.

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