Measuring the impact of HIV/AIDS, heart disease and malignant neoplasms on life expectancy in the USA from 1987 to 2000

D. J. Lai, P. M. Tarwater, R. J. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Quantifying the impact of a disease on society is an important issue for setting priorities for better allocation of healthcare resources and for evaluating the effectiveness of prevention and control of the disease. Study design: The potential gains in life expectancy due to the elimination of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), heart disease and malignant neoplasms were compared for the US population by age and ethnicity from 1987 to 2000. Methods: The potential gain in life expectancy after hypothetical elimination of cause-specific deaths is an effective indicator of measuring the impact of a disease on a population. Official age-specific mortality rates, by ethnicity, due to HIV/AIDS, heart disease and malignant neoplasms of the US population from the National Center for Health Statistics were used, and multiple decremental life tables were constructed to find the corresponding potential gains in life expectancy. Results: The potential gains in life expectancy for the US population at birth by complete elimination of HIV/AIDS, heart disease and malignant neoplasms were 0.14, 3.71 and 3.06 years in 1987, respectively. In 1995, the potential gain in life expectancy due to the elimination of HIV/AIDS increased from 0.14 years in 1987 and achieved its highest value (0.41 years), whereas the elimination of heart disease and malignant neoplasms led to potential gains in life expectancy of 3.05 and 3.10 years, respectively. Since 1995, the potential gains in life expectancy at birth by eliminating deaths from HIV/AIDS and heart disease have decreased to 0.13 and 2.67 years, respectively, in 2000. However, the potential gain in life expectancy due to elimination of malignant neoplasms remained relatively stable (3.01 years in 2000). It is well known that HIV/AIDS tends to have a greater impact on people of working age, whereas heart disease and malignant neoplasms have a greater impact on people over 65 years of age. To measure the impact of these diseases on life expectancy in people of working age, a partial multiple decremental life table was constructed and the potential gains in life expectancy were computed by partial or complete elimination of various causes of death during the working years. Figure 1 shows the impact on life expectancy of the US working-age population by eliminating deaths from HIV/AIDS, heart disease and malignant neoplasms by race and sex groups. Conclusions: Since 1995, there has been a rapid reduction in the burden of HIV/AIDS on the life expectancy for the US population, especially for black males of working age. These results could provide useful information when evaluating public health improvements and allocating resources for future disease control programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-492
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health
Volume120
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Heart disease
  • Life expectancy
  • Life table
  • Malignant neoplasms
  • Partial elimination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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