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Changes in mortality following HIV and AIDS and estimation of the number of people living with diagnosed HIV/AIDS in Australia, 1981–2003

Fatemeh Nakhaee A C D , Deborah Black B , Handan Wand A , Ann McDonald A and Matthew Law A

A National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, 376 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010, Australia.

B Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 1825, Australia.

C Present address: Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Faculty of Health, Haftbagh Highway, Kerman, Iran.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Sexual Health 6(2) 129-134
Submitted: 19 January 2008  Accepted: 5 February 2009   Published: 18 May 2009


Objective: To investigate changes in mortality following HIV and AIDS in Australia. Methods: The results of a linkage between HIV/AIDS diagnoses and the National Death Index (NDI) to the end of 2003 were used to estimate mortality rates following HIV/AIDS. Standardised Mortality Ratios (SMRs) were calculated for deaths following HIV, with and without AIDS, in three periods of treatment; before antiretroviral therapy (≤1989), pre- and early-HAART (1990–1996) and HAART (1997–2003). Crude mortality rates were calculated as the number of deaths per 1000 person-years. The total number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated. Results: There were 1789 deaths following HIV without AIDS and 6730 deaths after AIDS. For deaths following HIV without AIDS, the SMRs were 2.99, 1.22 and 1.6 during the periods before 1990, 1990–1996 and 1997–2003. For deaths after AIDS the SMRs were 137.84, 28.64 and 4.55 in the periods one to three, respectively. The crude death rate following HIV without AIDS increased from 16.8 before 1986 to 19.6 in 2003. Death rates after AIDS decreased from 958.7 up to 1986 to 60.4 in 2003. The number of new HIV diagnoses increased to 1276 in 1990 then decreased to 780 in 2003, while AIDS diagnoses increased to 950 in 1994 then decreased to 252 in 2003. The total number of people living with HIV was estimated to be 7873 in 1989, and 12828 in 2003. Conclusion: Mortality following AIDS decreased while deaths before AIDS remained low. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS has increased.

Additional keywords: antiretroviral treatment, death, mortality rates.


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