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Last Updated: Friday, 12 September, 2003, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Insurance call for HIV patients
HIV medication
New HIV drugs are highly effective
There is no good medical reason to bar people with HIV/Aids from taking out life insurance, research has found.

A Lancet study finds people successfully treated for HIV have similar death rates to those successfully treated for cancer.

Many insurance companies do not offer people with HIV/Aids life insurance because of their high risk of death.

But the researchers, from Geneva University Hospital, Switzerland, say this no longer true.

They say the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) therapy over the past few years has prolonged the lives of many people who are infected with HIV.

It is time for the insurance industry to offer the full range of insurance services for UK residents with HIV
Derek Bodell
The researchers, led by Dr Bernard Hirschel measured death rates in around 4,000 people with HIV.

They compared them to death rates in the overall Swiss population.

Patients who were successfully treated with HAART and who were not also infected with hepatitis C virus had excess death rates below five per 1,000 per year.

Dr Hirschel said: "Successfully treated HIV-positive and hepatitis C negative patients have a short term mortality as low as, or lower than that of, patients with cancer who have been successfully treated - a group that is able to obtain life insurance.

"This study provides preliminary evidence that life coverage could be considered under specific conditions."

Advances

Derek Bodell, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, welcomed the recommendation that people living with HIV should have the same access to life insurance as everyone else.

He said: "Advancements in medical technology since the mid-1990s have dramatically improved the quality of life for people living with the virus, and for many, HIV has become a manageable, chronic condition.

"It is time for the insurance industry to reflect these changes and offer the full range of insurance services for the more than 50,000 UK residents with HIV."

Chris Morgan, an independent finanical advisor specialising in the gay market, said there was no good reason why people with HIV should not be treated in the same way as other risk groups.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: "The insurance market is always adapting as new information becomes available and in response to medical evidence.

"Life insurance for some people with HIV is currently available from one insurance company already in the UK.

"This study provides some early evidence that further changes may be possible and will be examined with great interest by insurers."




SEE ALSO:
New HIV cases rise sharply in UK
30 Nov 02  |  Health
HIV 'treatment holiday' may harm
27 Aug 03  |  Health


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