All-cause mortality in treated HIV-infected adults with CD4 ≥500/mm3 compared with the general population: evidence from a large European observational cohort collaboration

Int J Epidemiol. 2012 Apr;41(2):433-45. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyr164. Epub 2011 Nov 28.


Background: Using data from a large European collaborative study, we aimed to identify the circumstances in which treated HIV-infected individuals will experience similar mortality rates to those of the general population.

Methods: Adults were eligible if they initiated combination anti-retroviral treatment (cART) between 1998 and 2008 and had one prior CD4 measurement within 6 months. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and excess mortality rates compared with the general population were estimated using Poisson regression. Periods of follow-up were classified according to the current CD4 count.

Results: Of the 80 642 individuals, 70% were men, 16% were injecting drug users (IDUs), the median age was 37 years, median CD4 count 225/mm(3) at cART initiation and median follow-up was 3.5 years. The overall mortality rate was 1.2/100 person-years (PY) (men: 1.3, women: 0.9), 4.2 times as high as that in the general population (SMR for men: 3.8, for women: 7.4). Among 35 316 individuals with a CD4 count ≥500/mm(3), the mortality rate was 0.37/100 PY (SMR 1.5); mortality rates were similar to those of the general population in non-IDU men [SMR 0.9, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.7-1.3] and, after 3 years, in women (SMR 1.1, 95% CI 0.7-1.7). Mortality rates in IDUs remained elevated, though a trend to decrease with longer durations with high CD4 count was seen. A prior AIDS diagnosis was associated with higher mortality.

Conclusions: Mortality patterns in most non-IDU HIV-infected individuals with high CD4 counts on cART are similar to those in the general population. The persistent role of a prior AIDS diagnosis underlines the importance of early diagnosis of HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count*
  • Cause of Death*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-HIV Agents