WEDNESDAY, July 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Persons entering HIV care have elevated mortality compared with a matched U.S. population, but the difference has decreased over time, according to a study published online July 6 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jessie K. Edwards, Ph.D., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the extent to which mortality among persons entering HIV care is elevated over mortality among matched individuals from the general U.S. population, and they assessed trends in this difference over time. Data were included for 82,766 adults entering HIV clinical care between 1999 and 2017 and a calendar time-, age-, sex-, race/ethnicity-, and county-matched subset of the U.S. population.

The researchers found that five-year mortality was 10.6 percent among persons entering HIV care and 2.9 percent among the matched U.S. population (difference, 7.7 percent). There was a decrease observed in this difference over time, from 11.1 to 2.7 percent among those entering care during 1999 to 2004 and 2011 to 2017, respectively.

“Understanding differences in mortality between persons entering HIV care and the matched U.S. population is critical to monitor opportunities to improve care. Although these differences have decreased dramatically in the era of modern treatments, gaps remain,” the authors write. “These gaps could reflect the effects of prolonged immunodeficiency in persons who present late to care or persistent immune activation and subsequent end-stage chronic diseases even among those who are successfully treated.”

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