• Vol. 41 No. 12, 563–570
  • 15 December 2012

Causes of Death and Factors Associated with Early Death Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-Infected Persons in Singapore: Pre-Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and Peri-HAART

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has greatly changed the epidemiology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) mortality. The aim of this study is to compare the causes of death and factors associated with early death in HIV-infected persons in the pre- and peri-highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) periods.

Materials and Methods: Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has greatly changed the epidemiology of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) mortality. The aim of this study is to compare the causes of death and factors associated with early death in HIV-infected persons in the pre- and peri-highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) periods.

Results: During the peri-HAART period, HIV encephalopathy, cryptococcal meningitis, and lymphoma were no longer the leading causes of death. Opportunistic infections remained important causes of death. Early deaths from the peri-HAART period were older (60 years and above) at diagnosis (Adj OR 7.50; 95% CI, 1.78 to 31.58), more likely to be divorced (Adj OR 5.05, 95% CI, 1.96 to 13.02) and tended to have a low baseline CD4 cell count of <50 cells/ uL (Adj OR 2.18, 95% CI, 1.14 to 4.16) , and were more likely to have received HAART (Adj OR 5.19; 95% CI, 2.22 to 12.12) than early deaths from the pre-HAART period.

Conclusion: In the peri-HAART era, HIV-infected persons who died within 5 years of diagnosis were those who were older (≥60 years), divorced, or who presented with very late-stage disease (CD4 <50) at diagnosis. More targeted public health interventions, such as targeted public health messages and outreach to increase access to HIV testing and treatment should be developed for these subpopulations.


Since the first case of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was diagnosed in Singapore in May 1985, a total of 4845 cases and 1389 HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) deaths have been reported as of December 2010. With the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), AIDS diagnoses declined by 45% and deaths by 63% from 1995 to 1998 in the United States, but remained fairly stable from 1999 to 2008. Similar trends have been observed in other developed countries in North America, Europe and Asia. In Singapore, although there has been a decline in the overall mortality among HIV-infected persons in the peri-HAART era, the proportion of deaths attributable to AIDS-related infections remain high. In contrast, the leading causes of death in most developed countries were non AIDS-related malignancy, cardiovascular and liver diseases.

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