Life expectancy among people treated for HIV has increased by more than 15 years in the past decade thanks to modern antiretroviral therapy, according to a study compiled by UK scientists.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, states the life expectancy rose between 1996 and 2008, but earlier diagnosis and timely treatment might increase this further.

Researchers studied 17,661 HIV patients, of whom 1,248 died between 1996 and 2008.

Results showed that the life expectancy of patients who started antiretroviral treatment at the age of 20 between 1996-1999 and 2006-2008 increased from 30 years to almost 46 years.

Starting antiretroviral therapy later than guidelines suggest resulted in up to 15 years’ loss of life.

The study also found that women with HIV could expect to live a decade longer than men with the virus.

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