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Clarification re: 11th Annual Conference
Mar 3, 2004

Please, guys, I need some clarification here... I'm hyperventilating! Was just reading The Body's coverage on the 11th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections and came across this passage in Corklin R. Steinhart's article entitled AIDS-Related Deaths Decline and Age-Related Diseases Rise:

"In contrast, the death rate from NODs increased over the time period and depended upon the length of time the patient was on ART: 45 for patients on ART for two years to 70.2 for those on ART for seven years."

Please, tell me this doesn't mean that 45 of patients on treatment in this study died within two years, and 70.2 died with seven years!!! As someone who's only in his second month of HAART, I don't think I could take those odds...

Instead, tell me I'm just an idiot who doesn't know how to read this medical jargon correctly. I'd much rather be an alive idiot than a smart dead man.

-D

Response from Dr. Pierone

Actually, the confusing part of this study was when they switched from death rates to percentages. Let me clarify: The overall death rate in this population of HIV-infected patients declined from 6.3 deaths per 100 person-years in 1996 to about 2 deaths per 100 person-years in 1998. This death rate of 2/100 person-years has not changed in this cohort from 1998 to 2002. What has changed is that the majority of these patients are not dying of opportunistic diseases, but rather from liver disease, lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease. Some of these deaths are related to the effects of aging, others are related to toxicity from antiretroviral medications. This same HOPS cohort was one of the first to report on the association of protease inhibitor use and higher risk of myocardial infarction. As antiretroviral therapy continues to improve, my prediction is that the overall death rates will make a secondary decline after this current plateau.



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