Objectives: We present national trends in death rates and the proportion of deaths attributable to AIDS in the era of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART), and examine risk factors associated with an AIDS-related death. Methods: Analyses of the national HIV-infected cohort for England and Wales linked to death records from the Office of National Statistics were performed. Annual all-cause mortality rates were calculated by age group and sex for the years 1999-2008 and rates for 2008 were compared with death rates in the general population. Risk factors associated with an AIDS-related death were investigated using a case-control study design. Results: The all-cause mortality rate among persons diagnosed with HIV infection aged 15-59 years fell over the decade: from 217 per 10000 in 1999 to 82 per 10000 in 2008, with declines in all age groups and exposure categories except women aged 50-59 years and persons who inject drugs (rate fluctuations in both of these groups were probably a result of small numbers). Compared with the general population (15 per 10000 in 2008), death rates among persons diagnosed with HIV infection remained high, especially in younger persons (aged 15-29 years) and persons who inject drugs (13 and 20 times higher, respectively). AIDS-related deaths accounted for 43% of all deaths over the decade (24% in 2008). Late diagnosis (CD4 count <350cells/μL) was the most important predictor of dying of AIDS [odds ratio (OR) 10.55; 95% confidence interval (CI) 8.22-13.54]. Sixty per cent of all-cause mortality and 81% of all AIDS-related deaths were attributable to late diagnosis. Conclusions: Despite substantial declines, death rates among persons diagnosed with HIV infection continue to exceed those of the general population in the ART era. Earlier diagnosis could have prevented 1600 AIDS-related deaths over the decade. These findings highlight the need to intensify efforts to offer and recommend an HIV test in a wider range of clinical and community settings.
- Late diagnosis