Estimating the extent of underreporting of mortality among HIV-infected individuals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2011 Jan;27(1):25-8. doi: 10.1089/aid.2010.0089. Epub 2010 Oct 7.


Non-HIV-related causes of death have been increasing after the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Underlying and contributing causes of death were assessed in respect to the presence/absence of HIV/AIDS among HIV-infected/AIDS patients in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Demographic variables (age, gender, ethnicity, and schooling) and CD4 cell counts closest to death were assessed through logistic regression models comparing those who did not have with those who had HIV/AIDS mentioned on the death certificate. The linkage with the two cohorts identified 1249 records, of which 370 (29.6%) did not have HIV/AIDS listed on any field of the death certificate [77 (20.8%) attributed to undefined and 72 (19.5%) to external causes]. After excluding external causes, 25.3% still did not have HIV/AIDS listed on the death certificate. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that age >40 years (OR = 2.09; 95%CI = 1.49-2.93; p < 0.001) and CD4 cell count closest to the date of death (OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.07-1.23; p < 0.001 for 100 cell increase) were associated with an increased probability of not having HIV/AIDS mentioned on the death certificate, when external causes were excluded. Mortality among HIV-infected individuals is underreported in the Rio de Janeiro Mortality Registry, particularly among older individuals and those with higher CD4 counts. Physicians should be aware of the changing patterns of mortality among HIV individuals, and public health officials should regularly perform linkages between all-cause mortality and available HIV-infected patients databases, such as AIDS registries and large cohort studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cause of Death
  • Death Certificates
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors