Life expectancy soars in Africa with introduction of antiretroviral drugs

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1207 (Published 21 February 2013)
Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1207

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  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington

Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for HIV have had a profound effect in Africa on patient treatment and society, two new studies show.

Adult life expectancy had fallen to 49.2 years in 2003 in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, based on a rural population cohort of more than 101 000 people who were hard hit by the disease and studied by experts from the Africa Center for Health and Population Studies.

Widespread use of ARV was introduced in September 2004, and life expectancy began to rebound almost immediately. According to the researchers’ study published in Science, life expectancy reached 60.5 years by 2011.1

Lead author Jacob Bor wrote, “The cost effectiveness ratio [of the …

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