Washington: A new study has revealed that the antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the treatment of HIV infection has saved 2.8 million years of life in South Africa since 2004 and is projected to save an additional 15.1 million years of life by 2030.
The analysis suggested these dramatic benefits could be even greater if more aggressive HIV testing and treatment strategies are implemented.
"We hope that this study reminds stakeholders of the astounding efficacy of the global ART rollout while simultaneously invigorating efforts to redouble commitments toward expanding the availability of ART," study's lead author Michael D. April , MD, DPhil, of the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, said.
The researchers estimated that substantial survival gains from ART have already been achieved in South Africa: 2.8 million years of life gained as of December 2011. These years of life already saved represent just 15.6 percent of the 17.9 million years of life that will be saved by 2030 among patients currently receiving ART, according to the researchers' analysis.
Notably, these estimates exclude those who might benefit from starting ART in the future but who are not yet receiving it, Dr. April said.
Study author Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School said the study suggested that rather than a debate over continuation of current funding commitments for the global response to HIV, policymakers and researchers should be examining strategies to most effectively and efficiently expand HIV testing and treatment efforts, to help increase future potential survival gains.
The study was published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.