AIDS-related mortality stable

In 2004 the number of AIDS deaths in the Netherlands totalled 85; 72 were men and 13 were women. AIDS mortality has been stable for three years. A decade ago, mortality was still five times as high, when 444 AIDS-related deaths were registered. The decrease is mainly the result of improved medication which became available for AIDS or HIV-infected people.

Highest AIDS mortality rate recorded in 1994

In 1981 AIDS was described for the first time in the United States. In 1982 the first cases were diagnosed in the Netherlands. This resulted in 8 AIDS deaths in 1983. Subsequently, AIDS mortality rates rose rapidly to 444 in 1994.

AIDS-related mortality by gender

AIDS-related mortality by gender

Strong decline due to improved medication

The administration of antiviral agents caused the number of AIDS deaths to fall sharply between 1994 and 1998. The decline continued and averaged around 85 annual deaths in 2002. 

The decline is not due to lower infection rates, but to improved medication. HIV-infected persons are not so much at risk of developing AIDS and AIDS patients live longer. The number of HIV-infected is estimated at over 16 thousand.

Most AIDS deaths are still men

In the period 1983-2004 over 4 thousand people in the Netherlands died from AIDS, nearly 1.5 per thousand deaths. Nearly nine in ten AIDS-related deaths were men. Homosexual and bisexual men are at the highest risk for HIV infection.

Share of women on the increase

In recent years, the share of heterosexual HIV-infected persons increased. This is also reflected in higher AIDS-related death rates for women. In the past seven years, almost 20 percent more women died from AIDS than in the early 1980s.

AIDS-related mortality by gender and age, 1983/2004

AIDS-related mortality by gender and age, 1983/2004

Female AIDS deaths are younger

More than half of people who died from AIDS in the period 1983-2004 were aged between 30 and 45. On average, female AIDS patients die at a younger age than their male counterparts. One quarter of female AIDS deaths were aged between 30 and 35. Dying from AIDS is very rare for people over the age of 65.

Ingeborg Deerenberg