Feature Article

HIV as a chronic disease: optimising outcomes

David Baker, Cathy Pell, Basil Donovan



Provided they receive regular care, the life expectancy of patients newly diagnosed with HIV infection in the developed world can approach that of the general population. For most people this will mean lifelong daily medication with a combination of antiretroviral drugs.

Key Points

  • The rate of new HIV infections is increasing so all practitioners need to consider ‘could this be HIV?’
  • Life expectancy for people living with HIV infection can approach that of the general population.
  • Current management focuses on treating HIV as a chronic disease.
  • Most patients need lifelong treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART).
  • Improvements in ART mean that patients can expect a simple regimen with few or no side effects.
  • Guidelines for preventive care of other health problems are similar to those for the general population.