HIV Mortality Decreasing, but Disparities Persist

Drop seen from 1993-1995 to 2005-2007, but rates remain unchanged for least-educated blacks

TUESDAY, Oct. 9 (HealthDay News) -- HIV death rates decreased from 1993-1995 to 2005-2007, but socioeconomic disparities are increasing, according to a study published online Oct. 8 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Edgar P. Simard, Ph.D., from the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, and colleagues examined data from the National Vital Statistics System to examine temporal trends in HIV mortality by sex, race/ethnicity, and education levels among non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, and Hispanic men and women aged 25 to 64 years in 26 states (1993 to 2007; 91,307 deaths).

The researchers found that mortality declined for most men and women by race/ethnicity and educational levels from 1993-1995 to 2005-2007, with the greatest absolute decreases for nonwhites because of their higher baseline rates. The rates per 100,000 people decreased among men with the most education, from 117.89 to 15.35 in blacks compared with 26.42 to 1.79 in whites. For the least-educated black women, rates were unchanged (26.76) during 2005 to 2007. Rates remained similarly high for the least-educated black men (52.71). Disparities widened due to greater declines seen with increasing level of education. From 1993-1995 to 2005-2007, the disparity rate ratio increased from 1.04 to 3.43 for blacks and from 0.98 to 2.82 for whites.

"We documented substantial absolute declines in HIV death rates during 1993 to 2007 for all groups, although relative declines were greatest among those with the highest versus lowest levels of socioeconomic status, leading to widening inequalities," the authors write. "These findings suggest the need for focused interventions and resources to facilitate the identification of high-risk individuals."

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