(Reuters Health) - New drug treatments have dramatically improved survival for people infected with HIV, but a new study finds that African Americans and less educated Americans have not seen the same gains as others, suggesting differences in access to available treatments.
"There have been substantial declines in HIV death rates, but not everyone has benefited equally from the drugs that have been available since 1996," said Edgar Simard, the study's lead author and a senior epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.
The drugs currently used against HIV are collectively known as highly active antiretroviral therapy, or HAART. They help suppress the virus in a person's blood, which helps the immune system stay strong and may delay the onset of AIDS.
But, the authors note in the Archives of Internal Medicine, while HIV fell to 24th leading cause of death for whites, it rose to be the ninth leading cause of death for blacks.
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