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Death Rates Fall
for Recent HIV Patients

Death Rates Fall
for Recent HIV Patients

Anti-HIV drugs 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.

Anti-HIV drugs 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.

Medical records 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 2006.

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 London.

Their work, which analyzed the records of more than 16,000 patients, was published Tuesday in TheJournal 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 Advocate)

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