Life Expectancy in the Immune Recovery Era: The Evolving Scenario of the HIV Epidemic in Northern Italy

Guaraldi, Giovanni MD*; Cossarizza, Andrea MD*; Franceschi, Claudio MD; Roverato, Alberto PhD; Vaccher, Emanuela MD; Tambussi, Giuseppe MD§; Garlassi, Elisa MD*; Menozzi, Marianna MD*; Mussini, Cristina MD*; D'Arminio Monforte, Antonella MD

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: 1 February 2014 - Volume 65 - Issue 2 - p 175–181
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000000018
Clinical Science

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.

*University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy;

University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy;

National Cancer Institute, Aviano, Italy;

§San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milano, Italy; and

Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy.

Correspondence to: Giovanni Guaraldi, MD, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences for Adults and Children, Clinic of Infectious Diseases, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Via Del Pozzo 71, 41124 Modena, Italy (e-mail:

The Italian Collaborative HIV Aging Cohort (ICHAC) is supported by an unrestrictive research grant by VIIV Italy. G.G., A.C., C.F., A.R., E.V. and A.D.M. reachieved travel grant by VIIV Italy.

Received May 27, 2013

Accepted September 20, 2013

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins