Drug Revolution Boosts HIV Survival Rates

Early diagnosis is vital
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2008 3:20 AM CDT
First Lady Laura Bush reaches for HIV positive Silvia Makene, 15, during the launch of Tanzania's national plan of action for orphans and vulnerable children.    (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
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(Newser) – A revolution in drug treatments for people with HIV has dramatically increased survival rates in the West, reports the Independent. A patient diagnosed today at the age of 20 can expect to live to nearly 70 by taking cocktails of drugs. Life expectancy improved by an average of 13 years between 1996 and 2005, and has continued to rise.

"One of the main reasons people do worse is because they are diagnosed too late," said one expert. "The adult population should be screened regularly. In the past there was a huge stigma attached to HIV testing. If you think of it like diabetes, a national screening program would be unexceptionable."