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BACKGROUND: Survival of people with HIV-2 and HTLV-1 infection is better than that of HIV-1 infected people, but long-term follow-up data are rare. We compared mortality rates of HIV-1, HIV-2, and HTLV-1 infected subjects with those of retrovirus-uninfected people in a rural community in Guinea-Bissau. METHODS: In 1990, 1997 and 2007, adult residents (aged ≥15 years) were interviewed, a blood sample was drawn and retroviral status was determined. An annual census was used to ascertain the vital status of all subjects. Cox regression analysis was used to estimate mortality hazard ratios (HR), comparing retrovirus-infected versus uninfected people. RESULTS: A total of 5376 subjects were included; 197 with HIV-1, 424 with HIV-2 and 325 with HTLV-1 infection. The median follow-up time was 10.9 years (range 0.0-20.3). The crude mortality rates were 9.6 per 100 person-years of observation (95% confidence interval 7.1-12.9) for HIV-1, 4.1 (3.4-5.0) for HIV-2, 3.6 (2.9-4.6) for HTLV-1, and 1.6 (1.5-1.8) for retrovirus-negative subjects. The HR comparing the mortality rate of infected to that of uninfected subjects varied significantly with age. The adjusted HR for HIV-1 infection varied from 4.0 in the oldest age group (≥60 years) to 12.7 in the youngest (15-29 years). The HR for HIV-2 infection varied from 1.2 (oldest) to 9.1 (youngest), and for HTLV-1 infection from 1.2 (oldest) to 3.8 (youngest). CONCLUSIONS: HTLV-1 infection is associated with significantly increased mortality. The mortality rate of HIV-2 infection, although lower than that of HIV-1 infection, is also increased, especially among young people.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Aging, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Guinea-Bissau, HIV Infections, HIV-2, HTLV-I Infections, Human T-lymphotropic virus 1, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Male, Middle Aged, Proportional Hazards Models, Rural Population, Young Adult