Introduction: National cohort and intercohort studies have been set to describe the differences of life expectancy (LE) of HIV-infected individuals.
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the impact of immune recovery (IR) on LE of patients with HIV undergoing combination antiretroviral therapy.
Methods: In this retrospective observational study, outcome measure was LE of patients with HIV compared with LE of northern Italian population. Group categorizations were as follows: patients with no immune recovery (nIR), patients with IR, patients who are immune maintained, and pre-highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and post-HAART. Abridged life tables were constructed from age-specific mortality rates (per 1000 person years) to estimate LE from the age of 20–55 years.
Results: A total of 9671 patients, 71% men, were included. After 2005, we assisted to a rapid increase in the overall rate of patients attaining IR in the community coupled with a progressive decrease of AIDS death, but not of non-AIDS deaths. In a 40-year-old patient, LE was 38.10 years [standard error (SE) = 2.60], 30.08 years (SE = 0.98), and 22.9 (SE = 0.69) in the IR, post-HAART group and nIR, respectively, compared with 41.38 years of the general Italian population. An approximately 5-year gap in LE was observed in IR patients.
Discussion: We describe IR at a “community” level, related to calendar year and apparent 10 years after HAART introduction. HAART community IR is significantly influencing LE and is associated with the changing clinical picture of HIV disease. An increasing gradient of LE exists between nIR, post-HAART, and IR groups, with the latter, above the age of 40 years only, reaching LE of general population.