Author(s): Lee LM, Karon JM, Selik R, Neal JJ, Fleming PL
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Abstract CONTEXT: Declines in the number of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) deaths were first observed in 1996, attributed to improvements in antiretroviral therapy and an increase in the proportion of persons receiving therapy. OBJECTIVE: To examine national trends in survival time among persons diagnosed as having AIDS in 1984-1997. DESIGN, SETTING, AND SUBJECTS: Retrospective cohort study using data from a population-based registry of AIDS cases and deaths reported in the United States. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Months of survival after AIDS diagnosis through December 31, 1998, compared by year of diagnosis. RESULTS: Among 394 705 persons with an AIDS-defining opportunistic illness (OI) diagnosed in 1984-1997, median survival time improved from 11 months for 1984 diagnoses to 46 months for 1995 diagnoses. Among persons with an OI diagnosed in 1996 and 1997, 67\% were alive at least 36 months after diagnosis and 77\% were alive at least 24 months after diagnosis, respectively. Among 296 621 AIDS cases diagnosed during 1993-1997, 65\% were based on immunologic criteria and 35\% on OI criteria; 80\% were among men; and 42\% were among non-Hispanic blacks, 40\% among non-Hispanic whites, 17\% among Hispanics, 1\% among Asians/Pacific islanders, and less than 1\% among American Indians/Alaska natives. The probability of surviving at least 24 months increased from 67\% for those with immunologic diagnoses in 1993 to 90\% in 1997 and from 49\% for those with OI diagnoses in 1993 to 80\% in 1997. Survival time increased with each year of diagnosis from 1984 to 1997 for blacks, whites, and Hispanics. The greatest annual survival gains occurred among persons receiving an AIDS diagnosis in 1995 and 1996. CONCLUSIONS: Survival time after AIDS diagnosis improved from 1984 to 1997. While AIDS incidence is declining, improved survival times present a growing public health challenge as the number of persons living with chronic human immunodeficiency virus disease/AIDS increases.
This article was published in JAMA
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access