Aids deaths now stable

50 people died of aids in the Netherlands in 2010, 41 men and 9 women. Aids deaths have been stable over the last five years. Sixteen years ago 444 people died of aids, 9 times more.

Aid deaths and new aids patients

Aid deaths and new aids patients

Dramatic reduction due to combination therapy

The first cases of aids in the Netherlands were discovered in 1982. These led to the first 8 aids deaths in 1983, followed by a rapid increase in the number of aids deaths up to 444 in 1994. The introduction of the combination therapy in 1996 helped reduce the aids deaths to 89 in 2002. Until 2006 the numbers kept decreasing slightly, stabilising at around 50 deaths a year in the last five years.

Apart from better medication, “safe sex” and needle exchange programmes contributed to the prevention of HIV infections, and with that aids. The number of HIV positive people in the Netherlands is estimated at over 21.5 thousand by the RIVM National Institute of Public Health and the Environment.

Aids deaths, average age

Aids deaths, average age

Women die younger of aids

In the period 1983-2010 some 70 percent of the people who died of aids were between 30 and 50 years old. The women on average died younger than men. The women who died of aids since 2004 were on average 43.6 whereas men were on average 50.

Both women and men die older now than at the start of the aids epidemic. Compared with the period 1983-1989 men have gained 10 and women 6.4 years. Very few people under 30 die of aids; actually none in 2010.

Aids deaths by origin, 1996/2010

Aids deaths by origin, 1996/2010

Higher mortality among the non-native population

Over 43 percent of all people who have died of aids in the last ten years have a foreign background, both western and non-western. The death rate from aids among women with a non-western background is eleven times higher than that of native population. Among men it is nearly three times as high.

The highest mortality rate caused by aids is found among African, Antillean and Surinamese people in the Netherlands. It is unclear what percentage is due to greater exposure to HIV in the countries of origin. In 2009, for instance, the incidence of HIV in the sub-Saharan Africa is 25 times that in Western-Europe.

Jan Hoogenboezem and Kim de Bruin