Predictors of All-Cause Mortality Among People With Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in a Prospective Cohort Study in East Africa and Nigeria

Hannah Kibuuka*, Ezra Musingye, Betty Mwesigwa, Michael Semwogerere, Michael Iroezindu, Emmanuel Bahemana, Jonah Maswai, John Owuoth, Allahna Esber, Nicole Dear, Trevor A. Crowell, Christina S. Polyak, Julie A. Ake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been associated with a decline in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related mortality, although HIV remains a leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa. We describe all-cause mortality and its predictors in people living with HIV (PLWH) in the African Cohort Study (AFRICOS). Methods: AFRICOS enrolls participants with or without HIV at 12 sites in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria. Evaluations every 6 months include sociobehavioral questionnaires, medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Mortality data are collected from medical records and survivor interviews. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for factors associated with mortality. Results: From 2013 through 2020, 2724 PLWH completed at least 1 follow-up visit or experienced death. Of these 58.4% were females, 25.8% were aged ≥ 50 years, and 98.3% were ART-experienced. We observed 11.42 deaths per 1000 person-years (95% CI: 9.53-13.68) with causes ascertained in 54% of participants. Deaths were caused by malignancy (28.1%), infections (29.7%), and other non-HIV related conditions. Predictors of mortality included CD4 ≤ 350 cells/μL (aHR 2.01 [95% CI: 1.31-3.08]), a log10copies/mL increase of viral load (aHR 1.36 [95% CI: 1.22-1.51]), recent fever (aHR 1.85[95% CI: 1.22-2.81]), body mass index < 18.5 kg/m2 (aHR 2.20 [95% CI: 1.44-3.38]), clinical depression (aHR 2.42 [95% CI: 1.40-4.18]), World Health Organization (WHO) stage III (aHR 2.18 [95% CI: 1.31-3.61]), a g/dL increase in hemoglobin (aHR 0.79 [95% CI:. 72-.85]), and every year on ART (aHR 0.67 [95% CI:. 56-.81]). Conclusions: The mortality rate was low in this cohort of mostly virally suppressed PLWH. Patterns of deaths and identified predictors suggest multiple targets for interventions to reduce mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-664
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • HIV
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • cause of death
  • mortality


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