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Death rates for HIV-positive adults have halved

However, the risk of death from non-AIDS cancers remained stable.

Image: red ribbon via Shutterstock

THE DEATH RATE among HIV-positive adults from AIDS-related causes has halved over the past decade, new research shows.

However, the risk of dying from a non-AIDS cancer has remained stable.

The research, published today in The Lancet, covered 50,000 HIV-positive adults across Europe, the United States, and Australia in receipt of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The mortality rate decreased from 17.5 deaths per 1000 person-years in 1999-2000 to 9.1 deaths in 2009-2011.

Decreases were recorded in deaths related to AIDS (5.9 to 2.0), liver disease (2.7 to 0.9), and cardiovascular disease (1.8 to 0.9).

The reason for the latter two decreases can not be pinned down, but researchers believe it may be due to better management of traditional risk factors like smoking and drinking, or less-toxic ART treatment.

Non-AIDs related cancer continues to be main cause of deaths, accounting for 23%.

Study leader Dr Colette Smith from University College London said the study provides “further evidence” for the benefits of ART treatment.

“But despite these positive results,” she said, “AIDS-related disease remains the leading cause of death in this population.”

“Continued efforts to ensure good ART adherence and to diagnose more individuals at an earlier stage before the development of severe immunodeficiency are important to ensure that the low death rate from AIDS is sustained and potentially decreased even further.”

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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