Objective: To investigate any emerging trends in causes of death amongst HIV-positive individuals in the current cART era, and to investigate the factors associated with each specific cause of death.
Design: An observational multicentre cohort study.
Methods: All HIV-positive individuals included in one of the cohorts in the Data Collection on Adverse Events of Anti-HIV drugs (D:A:D) Study were included. The association between HIV-specific and non HIV-specific risk factors and death were studied using multivariable Poisson regression.
Results: We observed 2482 deaths in 180,176 person-years (PY) on 33,308 individuals [rate/1000 PY = 13.8 (95% CI 13.2-14.3)]. Primary causes of death were: AIDS (n = 743; rate/1000 PY = 4.12), liver-related (341; 1.89), CVD-related (289; 1.60), non-AIDS malignancy (286; 1.59). The overall rate of death fell from 16.9 in 1999/2000 to 9.6/ 1000 PY in 2007/2008. Smoking was associated with CVD and non-AIDS cancers, HBV and HCV co-infection with liver-related deaths, and hypertension with liver-related and CVD deaths. Diabetes was a risk factor for all specific causes of death except non-AIDS cancers, and higher current HIV RNA for AIDS-related deaths. Lower CD4 cell counts were associated with a higher risk of death from all specific causes of death.
Conclusion: Multiple potentially modifiable traditional and HIV-specific risk factors for death of HIV-infected persons were identified. The maximum reduction in mortality in HIV-infected populations will require that each of these factors be appropriately addressed. No trends in terms of emerging causes of unexpected deaths were observed, although monitoring will continue.