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Hospital admissions of patients with HIV have fallen by more than half since 1995

The number of hospital admissions for people diagnosed with 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 the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. During the same period, the percentage of patients with AIDS 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.

The data also show that the percentage of women with HIV increased during this time period. In 1995, 26 percent of hospital patients with HIV 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. 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, as well as more information on AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, go to https://www.ahrq.gov/data/hcup/.

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