Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
November 19, 2020
1 min read

Rate of HIV-related deaths in US falls 48%

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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The rate of HIV-related deaths among people with HIV fell by more than 48% from 2010 to 2017, CDC researchers reported in MMWR.

“Deaths among persons with HIV have decreased, and by 2018 had surpassed the 2020 national target, primarily because of a reduction in HIV-related deaths,” CDC epidemiologist Karin A. Bosh, PhD, and colleagues wrote. “Deaths caused by HIV infection have likely decreased because of improvements in diagnosing infections and in treatment and medical care.”

HIV-related death graphic
Source: Bosh KA, et al. MMWR Morbid Mortal Weekly Rep. 2020;doi:10.15585.mmwr.mm6946a1.

Bosh and colleagues examined death rates among people living with HIV (PLWH) aged 13 years or older using the National HIV Surveillance System. They used data recorded between 2010 and 2018 to determine changes in total deaths. Deaths by cause from 2018 were excluded because of reporting delays.

The overall death rate among PLWH decreased by 36.6% between 2010 to 2018 (19.4 to 12.3 per 1,000 PLWH), and HIV-related deaths declined by 48.4% (9.1 to 4.7 per 1,000 PLWH) between 2010 and 2017. During the same period, non-HIV-related deaths per 1,000 PLWH decreased by 8.6% (9.3 to 8.5).

HIV-related deaths per 1,000 PLWH were highest in 2017 among people of multiple races (7) and Black patients (5.6), followed by white (3.9) and Hispanic (3.9) patients. Additionally, HIV-related deaths per 1,000 PLWH peaked in the Southern region (6) and were at their lowest throughout the Northeast (3.2).

According to Bosh and colleagues, the more than 36% decrease in overall deaths among PLWH may be a result of an increase in awareness of serostatus in people with HIV from 82.2% in 2010 to 86.2% 2018, as well as an increase in viral suppression among PLWH from 46% to 64% within the same period.

“Differences in HIV-related death rates still exist for multiple populations,” the authors wrote. “Diagnosing HIV infection early, treating it promptly, and maintaining access to high-quality care and treatment over a lifetime can improve life expectancy and reduce differences in rates of deaths across all populations.”