Morbidity and Mortality in South African Gold Miners: Impact of Untreated Disease Due to Human Immunodeficiency Virus


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Abstract

A cohort of 1792 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—positive and 2970 HIV-negative South African miners was observed for 12 months starting in February 1998. All-cause hospitalizations and deaths were significantly associated with HIV infection (respective unadjusted incidence rate ratios, 2.9 and 9.2; respective 95% confidence intervals, 2.5–3.4 and 5.5–16.0). Tuberculosis (TB), bacterial pneumonia, cryptococcosis, and trauma were the major causes of admission for HIV-positive patients, whereas Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia was an uncommon cause (respective admission rates, 8.5, 6.9, 2.2, 6.0, and 0.53 admissions per 100 person-years). Enteritis, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and soft-tissue infections were also significantly associated with HIV infection. Cryptococcosis caused 44% of deaths among HIV-positive patients. Trauma was the main hazard for HIV-negative men, causing 42% of admissions and 60% of deaths. A broad range of infectious conditions is significantly associated with HIV infection in South African miners. Identification and implementation of effective prophylactic regimens are urgently needed.

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