Objectives: To evaluate survival and investigate causes of death among HIV-1 infected adults receiving HAART in Senegal.
Design: An observational prospective cohort.
Methods: Mortality was assessed in the first patients enrolled between August 1998 and April 2002 in the Senegalese antiretroviral drug access initiative. First-line regimen combined two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and either a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or a protease inhibitor. The most likely causes of death were ascertained through medical records or post-mortem interviews (verbal autopsy).
Results: Four hundred and four patients (54.7% women) were enrolled in the study and were followed for a median of 46 months (interquartile range: 32-57 months) after HAART initiation. At baseline, 5% were antiretroviral therapy (ART) non-naive, 39 and 55% were respectively at CDC stage B and C, median age, CD4 cell count and viral load were 37 years, 128 cells/microl and 5.2 log cp/ml, respectively. Ninety-three patients died during follow-up and the overall incidence rate of death was 6.3/100 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI), 5.2-7.7]. During the first year after HAART initiation, 47 patients died and seven were lost to follow-up, yielding to a probability of dying of 11.7% (95% CI, 8.9-15.3%). The death rate, which was highest during the first year after HAART initiation, decreased with time yielding a cumulative probability of dying of 17.4% (95% CI, 13.9-21.5%) and 24.6% (95% CI, 20.4-29.4%) at 2 and 5 years. Causes of death were ascertained in 76 deaths. Mycobacterial infections, neurotropic infections and septicaemia were the most frequent likely causes of death.
Conclusions: This study underlines the early mortality pattern after HAART initiation and highlights the leading role of mycobacterial infections in the causes of death.