Publications & Reports

Temporal trends in mortality among people who use drugs compared with the general Dutch population differ by hepatitis C virus and HIV infection status.

Daniela K van Santen, Jannie J van der Helm, Bart P X Grady, Anneke S de Vos, Mirjam E E Kretzschmar, Ineke G Stolte, Maria Prins


OBJECTIVES: We aimed to identify temporal trends in all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates among people who use drugs (PWUD) compared with the general Dutch population and to determine whether mortality trends differed by hepatitis C virus (HCV)/HIV (co) infection status. DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study. METHODS: Using data from the Amsterdam Cohort Studies among 1254 PWUD (1985-2012), all-cause and cause-specific standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated; SMRs were stratified by serological group (HCV/HIV-uninfected, HCV-monoinfected, and HCV/HIV-coinfected) and calendar period. Temporal trends were estimated using Poisson regression. RESULTS: The overall all-cause SMR was 13.9 (95% confidence interval 12.6-15.3). The SMR significantly declined after 1996, especially due to a decline among women (P < 0.001). The highest SMR was observed among HCV/HIV-coinfected individuals during 1990-1996 (SMR 61.9, 95% confidence interval 50.4-76.0), which significantly declined after this period among women (P = 0.001). In contrast, SMR for HCV-monoinfected, and HCV/HIV-uninfected PWUD did not significantly change over time. The SMR for non-natural deaths significantly declined (P = 0.007), whereas the SMR for HIV-related deaths was the highest during all calendar periods. CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence for declining all-cause mortality among PWUD compared with the general population rates. Those with HCV/HIV-coinfection showed the highest SMR. The decline in the SMR seems to be attributable to the decline in mortality among women. Mortality rates due to non-natural deaths came closer to those of the general population over time. However, HIV-related deaths remain an important cause of mortality among PWUD when compared with the general Dutch population. This study reinforces the importance of harm-reduction interventions and HCV/HIV treatment to reduce mortality among PWUD.


  • Journal: AIDS
  • Published: 13/11/2014
  • Volume: 28
  • Issue: 17
  • Pagination: 2589-2599