In the U.S., HIV-related deaths dropped by 48% between 2010 and 2017, an analysis of National HIV Surveillance System data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed.
Overall, all deaths among PLWH decreased by 37% from 2010 to 2018, exceeding a federal 2020 reduction target of 33%.
Concurrent with fewer deaths, viral suppression rates rose from 46% of people diagnosed with HIV in 2010 to 65% in 2017.
While racial and geographic disparities narrowed for both indicators, they did not disappear. This was especially evident among African Americans and PLWH living in the U.S. South. “Higher levels of poverty, unemployment, and persons uninsured, challenges associated with accessing care, and HIV-related stigma likely affect timely diagnosis and access to treatment and contribute to higher rates of HIV-related deaths,” study authors noted.
The researchers called for addressing the structural barriers that give rise to these disparities. Concerted efforts for diagnosing and treating younger people are also needed, they suggested, as evidenced by the higher proportion of HIV-related deaths among all deaths in PLWH 13-44 years old.
Data were based on death certificates, which may not always have listed HIV as the cause of death, potentially underreporting HIV-related deaths as a proportion of overall mortality, study authors noted.
David Alain Wohl, M.D., discussed these findings in more detail as a part of our Top 10 HIV Clinical Developments of 2020.