July 15, 2013
Research from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) indicated that married men were significantly less likely to die of HIV/AIDS than divorced or single men. UCR sociology professor Augustine Kposowa investigated effects of marital status on deaths of individuals with HIV/AIDS. Kposowa used recently released data from the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study and the National Death Index to track approximately 763,000 individuals ages 15 years and older between 1983 and 1994. During that time, 410 died of HIV/AIDS.
The analysis of 11 years of data showed that marital status was a significant risk factor for men. Divorced and separated men were more than six times more likely to die of the disease than married men, and single men who never married were 13.5 times more likely to die of HIV/AIDS than married men. African-American men were 2.7 times as likely to die of the disease as white men, and Hispanic men were more than twice as likely to die of HIV/AIDS as white men. For women, race rather than marital status was the significant factor. African-American women were nine times more likely to die of HIV/AIDS and Latinas seven times more likely to die of the disease than white women.
Kposowa reasoned that little was known about the disease during the time period studied and those without healthcare access were more likely to be poor and/or minorities. By the time the poor presented for care, the disease had progressed. He used other studies to argue that healthcare disparity affected by color and background was responsible for some of the results.
The full report, "Marital Status and HIV/AIDS Mortality: Evidence from the U.S. National Longitudinal Mortality Study," was published online in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases (2013; doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2013.02.018).