Causes of death among patients with HIV in Singapore from 1985 to 2001: results from the Singapore HIV Observational Cohort Study (SHOCS)

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To investigate the major primary and contributory causes of death among HIV patients in Singapore.


A retrospective observational cohort study of all adult patients seen at the national referral centre for HIV in Singapore between 1985 and 2001.


Data were extracted from the patients' records by 10 trained health care workers. AIDS-defining conditions were established using predefined criteria. For each case, a single principal cause of death and up to three contributory causes were identified.


A total of 1504 patients aged 17 years or over were seen before the end of 2001, of whom 504 have died. The most frequent principal causes of death were Mycobacterium avium (17.5%), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (9.7%), pneumonia (cause unknown) (6.5%) and Cryptococcus neoformans (6.7%). Three hundred and eighteen patients (63.1%) died from an AIDS-defining condition.


The causes of death were similar to those found in Western cohorts, except that disseminated M. avium was a more frequent cause of death.

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