Life expectancy living with HIV: recent estimates and future implications

Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2013 Feb;26(1):17-25. doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32835ba6b1.


Purpose of review: The life expectancy of people living with HIV has dramatically increased since effective antiretroviral therapy has been available, and still continues to improve. Here, we review the latest literature on estimates of life expectancy and consider the implications for future research.

Recent findings: With timely diagnosis, access to a variety of current drugs and good lifelong adherence, people with recently acquired infections can expect to have a life expectancy which is nearly the same as that of HIV-negative individuals. Modelling studies suggest that life expectancy could improve further if there were increased uptake of HIV testing, better antiretroviral regimens and treatment strategies, and the adoption of healthier lifestyles by those living with HIV. In particular, earlier diagnosis is one of the most important factors associated with better life expectancy. A consequence of improved survival is the increasing number of people with HIV who are aged over 50 years old, and further research into the impact of ageing on HIV-positive people will therefore become crucial. The development of age-specific HIV treatment and management guidelines is now called for.

Summary: Analyses on cohort studies and mathematical modelling studies have been used to estimate life expectancy of those with HIV, providing useful insights of importance to individuals and healthcare planning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cohort Studies
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Forecasting
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / mortality*
  • HIV Long-Term Survivors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy / trends*
  • Models, Theoretical


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents