Americans With HIV Enduring on Lifesaving Meds Longer

More Americans with HIV agree with drugs that turn fatal disease into a manageable condition, according to a new study.

"This represents many people who do not die and do not infect others," said study author Ira Wilson, Chair of the Department of Health Services Policy and Practice at Brown University. Providence, RI

"These differences represent a huge and very real benefit," he added in a press release from the university.

Although there has been a significant increase in the length of time that HIV patients take their medications, many of them still stop taking medicines after a few years, warned the researchers.

In the study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 43,600 Medicaid patients in 14 states from 2001 to 2010 and found that the length of time patients received antiretroviral drugs increased by more than 50%.

In 2001/03, half of the patients stopped taking anti-HIV drugs about 24 months after departure, but by the end of 2004-06, they had reached 35.4 months. More than half of the patients continued to take medication by 2007-2010 at the end of the study period, researchers reported.

However, the study also found that women, blacks and people living in some states (eg, Louisiana and Texas) were more likely to discontinue treatment earlier than men, whites and people Living in other states (eg Maryland and New Jersey).

"Although it is improving, it is still not optimal, there is much room for further improvement, yet many people interrupt treatment in a short period of time," said the author. Study, Bora Youn, a graduate student at Brown.

The reasons why HIV patients stop taking their medications include costs, side effects and stigma, according to the researchers.

The study was published recently in the journal AIDS.