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Longer life with HIV

The number of people age 50 and over living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is increasing in Brazil, due to the effectiveness of antiretroviral treatments. The public health network began to distribute these drugs free of charge in the 1990s, which has reduced mortality rates and stopped the infection from becoming a chronic disease. Older people (age 40 and up) exhibited a higher rate of virus control when compared to younger people (ages 18-39), according to a study of 2,307 participants followed by the Evandro Chagas Clinical Research Institute of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) (Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, July). But the study also showed that the number of comorbidities—diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancers unrelated to AIDS—increased as people got older. “The increased rate of survival of the HIV population and the growing number of new infections in people age 50 and older will impact the diagnosis and treatment of diseases unrelated to AIDS,” concluded the authors of the study, which was coordinated by Thiago Torres and Beatriz Grinsztejn of the Foundation.