Background: We determined the impact of three factors on mortality in HIV-infected patients who had been on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for at least one year: (1) insufficient response to (HAART) and presence of AIDS-defining diseases, (2) comorbidity, and (3) drug and alcohol abuse and compared the mortality to that of the general population.
Methodology/principal findings: In a Danish nationwide, population-based cohort study, we used population based registries to identify (1) all Danish HIV-infected patients who started HAART in the period 1 January 1998-1 July 2009, and (2) a comparison cohort of individuals matched on date of birth and gender (N = 2,267 and 9,068, respectively). Study inclusion began 1 year after start of HAART. Patients were categorised hierarchically in four groups according to the three risk factors, which were identified before study inclusion. The main outcome measure was probability of survival from age 25 to 65 years. The probability of survival from age 25 to age 65 was substantially lower in HIV patients [0.48 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42-0.55)] compared to the comparison cohort [0.88 (0.86 to 0.90)]. However, in HIV patients with no risk factors (N = 871) the probability of survival was equivalent to that of the general population [0.86 (95% CI 0.77-0.92)]. In contrast, the probability of survival was 0.58 in patients with HIV risk factors (N = 704), 0.30 in patients with comorbidities (N = 479), and 0.03 in patients with drug or alcohol abuse (N = 313).
Conclusions: The increased risk of death in HIV-infected individuals is mainly attributable to risk factors that can be identified prior to or in the initial period of antiretroviral treatment. Mortality in patients without risk factors on a successful HAART is almost identical to that of the non-HIV-infected population.