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Life expectancy in HIV-positive persons in Switzerlandmatched comparison with general population

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Gueler Aysel, Moser André, Calmy Alexandra, Günthard Huldrych F., Bernasconi Enos, Furrer Hansjakob, Fux Christoph A., Battegay Manuel, Cavassini Matthias, Vernazza Pietro, Zwahlen Marcel, Egger Matthias,
Project Swiss HIV Cohort Study (SHCS)
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal AIDS
Volume (Issue) 31(1)
Page(s) 472 - 436
Title of proceedings AIDS
DOI 10.1097/qad.0000000000001335

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Objectives: To estimate life expectancy over 25 years in HIV-positive people and to compare their life expectancy with recent estimates for the general population, by education. Methods: Patients aged 20 years or older enrolled in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study 1988–2013 were eligible. Patients alive in 2001 were matched to up to 100 Swiss residents, by sex, year of birth, and education. Life expectancy at age 20 was estimated for monotherapy (1988–1991), dual therapy (1992–1995), early combination antiretroviral therapy (cART, 1996–1998), later cART (1999–2005) and recent cART (2006–2013) eras. Parametric survival regression was used to model life expectancy. Results: In all, 16 532 HIV-positive patients and 927 583 residents were included. Life expectancy at age 20 of HIV-positive individuals increased from 11.8 years [95% confidence interval (CI) 11.2–12.5] in the monotherapy era to 54.9 years (95% CI 51.2–59.6) in the most recent cART era. Differences in life expectancy across educational levels emerged with cART. In the most recent cART period, life expectancy at age 20 years was 52.7 years (95% CI 46.4–60.1) with compulsory education, compared to 60.0 years (95% CI 53.4–67.8) with higher education. Estimates for the general population were 61.5 and 65.6 years, respectively. Male sex, smoking, injection drug use, and low CD4+ cell counts at enrolment were also independently associated with mortality. Conclusion: In Switzerland, educational inequalities in life expectancy were larger among HIV-infected persons than in the general population. Highly educated HIV-positive people have an estimated life expectancy similar to Swiss residents with compulsory education. Earlier start of cART and effective smoking-cessation programs could improve HIV-positive life expectancy further and reduce inequalities.