FRIDAY, April 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Life expectancy among people with HIV receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly improved in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a study published in the May 1 issue of The Lancet HIV.

Casey L. Smiley, M.D., from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues assessed life expectancy trends from 2003 to 2017 among people aged 16 years and older with HIV beginning treatment with ART in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. The analysis included 30,688 individuals (57.0 percent from Haiti).

The researchers noted 2,637 deaths during the study period, including 1,470 in Haiti and 1,167 from other sites. Over time, crude and weighted mortality rates decreased among all age groups. Life expectancy for people with HIV at age 20 years increased from 13.9 years in 2003 to 2008 to 61.2 years in 2013 to 2017 in Haiti and from 31.0 to 69.5 years in other sites. At the end of the study period, life expectancies were within 10 years of those of the general population (69.9 years in Haiti and 78.0 years in all other sites). Across time, disparities persisted in life expectancy among people with HIV by sex or HIV transmission risk factor, CD4 cell count, level of education, and history of tuberculosis at or before ART initiation.

“Our findings show that ART can narrow the gap in life expectancy for people with HIV in low-income and middle-income regions,” the authors write.

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