Background: To compare information on the deaths detected by the register of AIDS cases and the register of deaths due to AIDS in residents of Barcelona, with the objective to determine the differences between the two.
Methods: Mortality data were obtained from the register of AIDS cases and the mortality register during 1991 and 1992. The two registers were linked and concordant cases were identified.
Results: During 1991-92 there were 582 deaths on the case-register and 525 on the mortality register. It was possible to link 458 cases. The 67 cases not detected by the register of cases of AIDS were due to the fact that some had not been reported (35.9%), some were not AIDS cases (28.3%), some lacked information that qualified them as AIDS cases (28.3%), or were from a different residence (7.5%). The 124 cases that were not detected in the mortality register were due to their having another underlying cause of death (60.5%), a different residence (21.8%) and a lack of information since 22 deaths could not be identified in the mortality register, therefore, the cause of death could not be identified (17.7%).
Conclusions: To do a correct epidemiological surveillance of AIDS, a good coordination between the case and the mortality register is necessary.