Mortality Rates and Causes of Death in a Cohort of HIV-Infected and Uninfected Women, 1993-1999

Dawn K. Smith, Lytt I. Gardner, Ruby Phelps, Merle E. Hamburger, Charles Carpenter, Robert S. Klein, Ann Rompalo, Paula Schuman, Scott D. Holmberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


HIV/AIDS-associated and non-HIV/AIDS-associated death rates and causes of death between 1993 and 1999 were examined in 885 HIV-infected women and 425 uninfected women of the HIV Epidemiology Research Study cohort. Causes of death were determined by review of death certificates and the National. Death Index. Adjusted hazard ratios were calculated for mortality risk factors. In the 885 HIV-infected women and 425 uninfected women, 234 deaths and 8 deaths, respectively, occurred by December 31, 1999. All-cause death rates in the HIV-infected women were unchanged between the pre-HAART (1993-1996) and HAART eras (1997-1999)-5.1 versus 5.4 deaths per 100 person-years (py). AIDS as a cause of death decreased from 58% of all deaths in 1996 to 19% in 1999, while HAART use increased to 42% by the end of 1999. In spite of the modest proportion ever using HAART, HIV-related mortality rates did decline, particularly in women with CD4+ cell counts less than 200/mm3. Drug-related factors were prominent: for the 129 non-AIDS-defining deaths, hepatitis C positivity (relative hazard [RH] 2.6, P < .001) and injection drug use (RH 1.7, P = 0.02) were strong predictors of mortality, but were not significant in the Cox model for 105 AIDS-defining deaths (RH 0.9, P > .30 and RH 0.7, P > .30, respectively. The regression analysis findings, along with the high percentage of non-AIDS deaths attributable to illicit drug use, suggest that high levels of drug use in this population offset improvements in mortality from declining numbers of deaths due to AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)676-688
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Cause of death
  • HIV
  • Injection drug use
  • Mortality
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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