Causes of death in AIDS patients

Apr 28, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- New research shows that Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) continues to dramatically reduce rates of mortality from HIV infection in high-income countries, such that non-AIDS-related deaths exceed AIDS deaths after approximately four years of taking ART.

The study, by researchers from the University of Bristol and a large group of international collaborators, examined data from the Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration (ART-CC) which involved nearly 40,000 patients who started ART between 1996 and 2006 in Europe and North America.

Of the 1,876 deaths that occurred in that time, a definitive cause of death could be assigned to 85% of cases. Overall, almost 50% of patients died from which remains the most common cause of death.

However, although during the first year of treatment with ART the majority of deaths were AIDS-related, because deaths from AIDS decline with time for patients on ART, non-AIDS-related deaths exceeded AIDS deaths after patients had been taking ART for approximately four years.

Lifestyle-related causes of death such as suicide, drug overdose and liver disease (mainly due to hepatitis) were the most frequent causes (15%) of non-AIDS deaths, and the most common non-AIDS cancer reported was lung cancer (4% of all deaths and 37% of all non-AIDS cancer deaths) which was probably associated with smoking.

Increases in rates of deaths from causes associated with aging, such as other cancers (12%) and cardiovascular disease (6.5%), imply that the process of aging will become a dominant factor in mortality in the next decade.

Dr Margaret May, corresponding author on the paper published online in Clinical said, "We also found a strong inverse association of rates of AIDS death with CD4 counts - a measure of - at the time of starting ART, which supports arguments for earlier initiation of ART.”

After the year 2000, the team found lower rates of AIDS deaths that may be the result of newer ART regimens having better potency and tolerability.

Interventions to address risk factors for lifestyle-related causes of death, as well as monitoring for and care of diseases associated with old age will be necessary if the full benefit of ART in decreasing mortality is to continue in the second decade of ART.

Explore further: Global research reaches for consensus on HIV treatment response

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More AIDS patients die of other causes

Sep 19, 2006

New York's Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control report has said it is becoming less common for AIDS patients to die of causes related to the disease.

Women with AIDS face cervical cancer threat

Nov 30, 2007

According to a report issued last week by UNAIDS, access to antiretroviral therapy is beginning to reduce AIDS mortality worldwide. But Dr. Groesbeck Parham, gynecologic oncologist and Director of the Cervical Cancer Prevention ...

Recommended for you

HIV lessons from the Mississippi Baby

Aug 29, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—The news in July that HIV had returned in a Mississippi toddler after a two-year treatment-free remission dashed the hopes of clinicians, HIV researchers and the public at large tantalized ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ThanderMAX
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
Until we find a definitive cure , its indeed a good news.

We need to encourage HIV victims to live a more cheerful life instead of living with anxiety and fear of death.
ThanderMAX
not rated yet Apr 28, 2010
HIV now a days is more like Diabetes, incurable currently but people can live with proper medication and diet.