Although HIV/AIDS mortality rates have decreased in the United States, hepatitis C (HCV) infection rates have increased, creating a public health challenge for health-care providers in the United States.

“Most analysis of infectious disease mortality in the state only take into account the underlying cause of death, rather than contributing causes of death, which may not capture the full extent of mortality trends for infectious diseases such as HIV and HCV,” said David J. Myers, of Harvard University, and colleagues.

To identify current trends in deaths related to HIV/AIDS and HCV in Massachusetts, the investigators performed a mortality trend analysis, identified spatial clusters of disease using a five-step geoprocessing approach and examined spatial-temporal clustering trends in infectious disease mortality in Massachusetts from 2002 to 2011, with a focus on HIV/AIDS and HCV.

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Trends varied among ethnicity/race groups, noted the investigators. For HIV/AIDS, the researchers report that much of the decline in annual mortality across the state can be attributed to steep declines in HIV/AIDS among Hispanic and black populations. The adjusted mortality rates for HIV/AIDS and HCV among black and Hispanic populations are up to five times as high as the rates in white and Asian populations.

“Our results may be used to inform public health resource allocation for infectious disease prevention and treatment programs, provide novel insight into the current state of infectious disease mortality throughout the state, and benefited from approaches that may more accurately document mortality trends,” concluded the researchers.


  1. Myers DJ et al. PLOS One. 2014; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114822