STUDY: Life Expectancy Of HIV-Positive Gay Men Similar To That Of General Population

gay-older-couple1A team of American and Canadian researchers has published a study that demonstrates dramatic increases in the life expectancies of HIV-positive adults who take combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Among infected populations, however, there remains a staggering gap between the life expectancies of white and/or gay patients and those of color.

In an interview with Healthline, Kyle Murphy of the National Minority AIDS Council said, “Across the board, communities of color fare worse than their white counterparts. They are diagnosed much later and are less likely to be retained in care or to be virally suppressed.”

The study considered a sample population of 23,000 infected adults from different backgrounds. It found that a 20 year-old gay man with HIV can expect to live to 77 years old — the same age as his non-infected peer — while other populations face more dire prognoses. HIV-positive intravenous drug users can expect to live to 49, and non-white populations with HIV can expect to live to 58. One reason for the disparity is that gay men tend to be tested for HIV more regularly and go on ART right away. Others include cultural and institutional barriers to treatment and stigmatization.

With the potential for more HIV-positive patients to live well into their later years, physicians are adjusting their approaches to the burgeoning infected geriatric population.

Dr. Mark Smith, president of the California HealthCare Foundation, told Healthline, “The irony is that now I have to worry about the same things I worry about with any 70-year-old — lipids, blood pressure, etc. Five years ago, frankly, I didn’t spend a lot of time on mildly elevated blood pressure in people with HIV.”

Although this study suggests new hope for the growing HIV-positive population, it doesn’t indicate the effectiveness of these treatments on newly discovered recombinant strains of the virus. Nor does it represent a resolution to the epidemic — the most effective way to combat HIV remains prevention and treatments that extend one’s life are no substitute for not needing to be treated.

But when viewed in light of the increasing ambivalence toward safer sex among gay men, is this study as much cause for concern as it is for celebration?

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  • Tyler100

    Don’t tell JimBryant that. It’ll further undermine his unjustified an unapolagetic hatred of HIV-positive and AIDS afflicted individuals.

  • the other Greg

    Long-term side effects of the medications can be severe.

    “treatments that extend one’s life are no substitute for not needing to be treated.” – Yes!

  • Stache1

    @Tyler100: That’s an unfair statement. Jim just feels that if you only have sex with healthy people you have no reason to worry. It happens to people who are just big ol hoes who must have wanted it and thus deserve it. I don’t see how that means he “hates HIV positive” people..

  • ariniah724

    my roomate’s sister makes $75 an hour on the computer. She has been without a job for 9 months but last month her check was $19668 just working on the computer for a few hours. find out here…… http://tiny.cc/m7zc8w

  • Tyler100


    LOL, Stache1!

  • the other Greg

    @Stache1: “if you only have sex with healthy people” – And you figure this out how, with the Magic 8-Ball?

    “big ol hoes who must have wanted it” – !!! – Damn, you’re even more of a sanctimonious pig than “jim” is.

    But I suspect you’re yet another “jim” sock puppet, since you also idiotically conflate “sex” with unprotected anal sex, using the exact same lingo.

  • the other Greg

    @Stache1: Damn… did I miss the sarcasm there, stache? Sorry!

  • Stache1

    @the other Greg: Yeah, it kind of ruins the moment with a sarcasm tag. The funny part is that I’m using Jim’s comments verbatim. I didn’t have to even improvise.

  • KDub

    So we’re to believe you can live on extremely toxic medications for 57 years and be just as healthy as the person who doesn’t have the infection nor the toxic medications running through their system on a daily basis? Even though it’s been medically proven HIV makes a person more susceptible to heart disease, various cancers and other life-threatening illnesses? Doesn’t sound accurate. I’ll believe it when said 20 year-old who takes these meds is still alive at 77 to tell it.

  • the other Greg

    @KDub: Well that’s just it. If you click on the link and read it, they’re not saying “just as healthy,” they’re saying “Increases in Life Expectancy” which is an entirely different thing.

  • Geeker

    Don’t these drugs cause stress on the body the longer they’re used?I’ve heard people mention accelerated aging as well as liver damage associated with HIV drugs.

  • KDub

    @the other Greg: No, they’re saying life expectancy is the same as a regular person. It doesn’t make sense. We already know HIV infection leaves people prone to develop equally serious complications (medically proven), so to say there will be no difference in life expectancy between poz and neg just doesn’t add up. The immune system naturally starts to shutdown in older age; already being immunosuppressed will have no effect on that at all? Very hard to believe. Too many variables the article doesn’t even bother to cover. It’s just full of false hope.

  • Stache1

    @KDub: I see your point to a degree. However, the point was that people who keep things in check aren’t “immune suppressed” and therefore can expect a much longer life span. I think as time goes on things will obviously change for the better as in better meds and less problems. I think it is very possible that a 20 yo positive person can live into their 70’s assuming that. Of coarse not all.

  • viveutvivas

    @Kdub, the newer HIV medications are not extremely toxic any more, and as they keep the virus suppressed, people who are successful on HAART treatment don’t have suppressed immunity.

  • Kathy T. Williams

    like Steven replied I’m amazed that people able to get paid $6571 in a few weeks on the internet. check this link right here now,… http://bit.do/fCKD

  • the other Greg

    @KDub: There are now 22 (?) or more medications which all have different potential side effects. Yes, it’s a bit of a [email protected] A few people run thru the gamut and never hit on an effective treatment. Some people luck out and sail thru to old age without many ill effects. Probably most will be somewhere in the middle.

    You’re right that there’s little long-term data, YET, on people living with this stuff for several decades. The study is just saying HIV+ people are now routinely living into their 70s. Quality of life is another story.

    If they make it to their 70s, they might have the usual old-age problems that anyone can have, but it’s not always easy for a doctor to tell if Problem X is HIV-related or not. The study’s highfalutin term for this is “co-morbidity.”

  • AuntieChrist

    @the other Greg: I’m not sure that I want to live that long…At 53 if I wasn’t married I would have already killed myself…What is that saying..? Old faeries never die, they merely blow away.

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