Decreasing Hospital Use For HIV

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Data from the National Hospital Discharge Survey show declines in hospital use for patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from 1995 to 1997. These trends in inpatient care are consistent with declines reported in mortality and morbidity for HIV. The age-adjusted death rate per 100,000 population for HIV dropped from 15.6 in 1995 to 5.9 in 1997. This unprecedented decline has been attributed to use of intensive antiretroviral therapies. These drugs also appear to have had a major impact on the need for hospital care for the HIV.

HIV patients had 71,000 fewer hospitalizations in 1997 than in 1995. Their average length of stay in the hospital was 1.2 days shorter in 1997. This resulted in 878,000 fewer days of hospital care for HIV patients. Both the number and rate of hospitalizations fell by approximately 30% during this period, and the number and rate of days of care declined by almost 40%.

More than 70% of the hospitalizations for HIV in both 1995 and 1997 were for patients 25-44 years old. Within this age group, hospitalizations for HIV patients who were 25-34 years old decreased by a third. The changes in the number of days these HIV patients spent in the hospital were even more dramatic, including drops of 50% for those 30-34 year old and of more than 40% for those 25-29 and 40-44 year olds.

The drop in the number and rate of hospitalizations was especially large in the West — more than 50%. The rate of days of care was down almost 60% for HIV patients in the West.

The National Hospital Discharge Survey, a survey of patients discharged from a sample of the nation’s non-Federal short-stay hospitals, has been conducted annually by NCHS since 1965 to profile patterns and monitor change in hospital care in the United States. Additional data from the survey are presented in NCHS publications and available in public use electronic data sets.


Figure is a Bar Chart of Hospitalizations for HIV by year, showing a downward trend from 1995 through 1997. Figure is a Bar Chart of Hospital days for HIV by years, showing a downward trend from 1995 through 1997