The analysis, "Causes of Death among Persons with AIDS in the Era of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy: New York City," is published in the Sept. 19, 2006, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

More than three quarters of non-HIV-related deaths were due to three underlying causes: substance abuse (31 percent), cardiovascular disease (23.8 percent), or a non-HIV-related type of cancer (20.8 percent).

"Reducing deaths from these causes requires a shift in the health care model for persons with AIDS from a primary focus on managing HIV infection to providing care that addresses all aspects of physical and mental health," said Judith E. Sackoff, Ph.D., lead author of the analysis. "This should include helping patients change behaviours, such as smoking; screening for early detection of cancer; and monitoring chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension."

In a separate editorial, Judith A. Aberg, M.D., concurred. "Physicians everywhere must remember that most of their HIV-infected patients will survive to develop the diseases that plague the rest of us."; Source: American College of Physicians