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Hospital Admissions of HIV Patients Have Fallen By More Than Half Since 1995

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Press Release Date: December 1, 2005

The number of hospital admissions for HIV infection in the United States declined from a high of 149,000 in 1995—just before approval of life-prolonging protease inhibitor drugs known as the "AIDS cocktail"—to 70,000 admissions in 2003, according to statistics released by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. During the same period, the percentage of AIDS patients who died in the hospital dropped by 32 percent—from a death rate of 12.5 percent in 1995 to 8.5 percent in 2003.

"This information clearly highlights the benefits of quickly putting new, potentially life-saving medical advances into everyday clinical practice," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "We anticipate that by World AIDS Day next year, we will see continued improvements."

The data also show that the percentage of female HIV patients increased during this time period. In 1995, 26 percent of HIV hospital patients were women, but this increased to nearly 34 percent in 2003.

The burden of payment shifted during this time as well. Medicaid's share of the bill declined from 53 percent of all HIV hospital stays in 1995 to 49 percent in 2003. The share of HIV stays billed to commercial insurers also declined—from 22 percent to 17 percent. On the other hand, Medicare's share increased from 11 percent of HIV stays in 1995 to nearly 17 percent in 2003. And the percent of HIV hospital stays that were uninsured increased from 8 percent to nearly 11 percent.

The statistics are from AHRQ's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, part of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project—a federal-State-industry partnership that provides a powerful source of all-payer health care data for evaluation, planning, policy development, and research. To access HCUPnet, an online query system that provides access to health statistics and information on hospital stays from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, go to

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: (301) 427-1855 or (301) 427-1865.


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