14 August, 2015 04:30

People living longer with HIV, but First Nations, drug users, women with disease lag behind

Those with HIV are living about 16 years longer than they did in 2000.

A new study shows Canadians being treated for HIV can expect to live longer. But some groups are lagging behind.

"The differences are between men and women, those that have a history of injection drug use and those that don't, and then First Nations people as a whole," said Dr. Robert Hogg, lead researcher of the study from the Canadian Observational Cohort Collaboration.

Hogg, a senior scientist at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said the study concluded that people with HIV, on average are living 16 years longer than they did in 2000. 

However, women are living seven years fewer than men. And the difference for those with First Nations ancestry was also significant.

Hogg said it shows that a national strategy is needed to expand access to anti-retroviral drugs.

"It says that we still have a long way to go in terms of reducing the gap between these different populations."

Increased testing and earlier treatment are two practices that would help, said Hogg.

The study is an ongoing look at the health of 10,000 people with HIV and AIDS living in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. 

Hogg said the study will soon cover people living in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. He said that this helps us get a better understanding of how we might improve the situation for people with HIV in Regina and Saskatoon.

CBC news

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