Non-AIDS Mortality Is Higher Among Successfully Treated People Living with HIV Compared with Matched HIV-Negative Control Persons: A 15-Year Follow-Up Cohort Study in Sweden

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There is an ongoing debate whether the life span of successfully treated people living with HIV (PLHIV) is comparable with that of the general population. The aim of this cohort study is to compare all-cause mortality between all PLHIV, successfully treated PLHIV, and HIV-negative control persons from the general population and to explore the impact of viral load (VL) at diagnosis. A total of 4066 PLHIV were matched against 8072 HIVnegative controls according to age, sex, and region of birth. Further, associations between VL at diagnosis, time on treatment, treatment outcome, and mortality were assessed over a 15-year period. Cox regression estimates were computed to compare the overall crude and adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality. After a 15-year follow-up period, successfully treated PLHIV were found to be three times more likely to die when compared with HIVnegative controls (HR 3.01, 95% CI 2.05-4.44, p < 0.001). The risk of mortality decreased from HR 6.02 after the first year of successful treatment. VL >30,000 c/mL at diagnosis was associated with an increased risk of mortality despite long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment. Although effective viral suppression has led to significant increases in longevity and quality of life, ART has not fully restored life expectancy to a level comparable with that found in HIV-negative persons. Even when PLHIV are successfully treated, there are several other important areas related to death, such as smoking and social factors, where data are still missing.

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