Risk factors for early mortality after AIDS in the cART era: A population-based cohort study in Italy

Barbara Suligoi, Antonella Zucchetto, Enrico Grande, Laura Camoni, Luigino Dal Dal Maso, Luisa Frova, Saverio Virdone, Stefano Boros, Marilena Pappagallo, Martina Taborelli, Vincenza Regine, Paolo De Paoli, Diego Serraino

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Background: Despite the dramatically improved survival due to combination antiretroviral therapies (cART), life expectancy of people with HIV/AIDS remains lower than that of the general population. This study aimed to estimate, at a population level, the survival experience of Italian people with AIDS (PWA) and to quantify the prognostic role of selected factors at diagnosis in the risk of early mortality (i.e., within six months from AIDS diagnosis). Methods: A population-based, retrospective-cohort study was conducted among Italian PWA diagnosed between 1999 and 2009 and recorded in the national AIDS registry. The vital status, up to December 2010, of 14,552 PWA was ascertained through a record linkage procedure with the Italian mortality database. Survival probabilities were estimated through Kaplan-Meier method. To identify risk factors for early mortality from any cause, odds ratios (ORs) and corresponding 95 % confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for major confounders, were computed using multivariate logistic regression models. Results: Of the 5,706 deaths registered among the 14,552 PWA included in the study, 2,757 (18.9 %) occurred within six months from AIDS diagnosis. The probability of surviving six months increased from 81.2 % in PWA diagnosed in 1999-2000 to 82.9 % in 2009, while the 5-year survival augmented from 60.7 % in PWA diagnosed in 1999-2000 to 65.4 % for PWA diagnosed in 2005-2006. Elevated risks of early mortality were associated to older age (OR = 5.28; 95 % CI: 4.41-6.32 for age ≥60 vs. 3 at AIDS diagnosis (OR = 1.87, 95 % CI: 1.55-2.27 vs. ≥350). Elevated ORs for early mortality also emerged for PWA diagnosed with primary brain lymphoma (OR = 11.66, 95 % CI: 7.32-18.57), or progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (OR = 4.21, 95 % CI: 3.37-5.27). Conclusions: Our study documented, among Italian PWA, the high - though slightly decreasing - frequency of early mortality in the full cART era. These findings indicate the need for enduring and ameliorating preventive actions aimed at timely HIV testing among all individuals at risk for HIV infection and/or those who present diseases known to be related with HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 12 2015


  • AIDS
  • Early mortality
  • Italy, cART
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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