Antiretroviral HIV Therapy Is For Life

Armen Hareyan's picture

HIV infected people are now able to significantly improve quality of life and life expectancy thank to antiretroviral therapy.

A team of researchers from Britain's Medical Research Council examined data of 13000 HIV infected men and women and compared the data with another data of a group of healthy men and women of similar ages, health characteristics, and living in the same country during the same period of time.

The research had the goal of estimating how powerful highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is. Actually, there is no cure for HIV / AIDS, but in 1990s scientists developed a treatment combining several drugs, which improves quality of life for infected patients. Highly active antiretroviral therapy is unable to beat the disease, but helps the immune system to survive and makes patient's life longer. There are now several companies developing drugs for HAART therapy - GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead Sciences, Roche, Pfizer, Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Abbott Laboratories.


The study found that before 1996, when antiretroviral therapy was not widely accessible, HIV infected people were from 8 to 20% more likely to die within 5 years after being infected than healthy people. However, this percentage decreased with time and by 2000 HIV infected people were no more dying because of the disease within the first 5 years.

For younger people - aged from 15 to 24 - rates for dying 10 and 15 years after getting the infection were 5% to 7% more than for healthy peers. For older people - aged above 45 - rates for dying 10 and 15 years after getting the infection were 5% to 12% more than for healthy peers.

Researchers also mention that death rates increase with time mostly because patients stop using prescribed drugs or are no longer able to tolerate the drugs.

This research shows how powerful antiretroviral therapy is and urges the need of diagnosing HIV infection in early stages. Patients receiving proper treatment can significantly improve quality of life and live longer.