January 31, 1995 in Nation/World

Aids Top Killer In Ages 25 To 44 Unintentional Injuries Drop To Second Place, Report Says

Lawrence K. Altman New York Times

AIDS has become the leading cause of death among all Americans 25 to 44 years old, new federal data show. The data were reported for the first time at a scientific meeting here Monday.

AIDS surpassed unintentional injury, the government’s category for accidents, which dropped to second place in this age group, said Dr. Harold W. Jaffe, a top AIDS official at the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Cancer and heart disease were third and fourth, followed by homicides and suicides.

“AIDS was expected to rise to the top of the list eventually, but no one had predicted which year,” Jaffe said.

The AIDS curve for deaths among Americans 25 to 44 years old has risen steadily and steeply since the disease first was recognized in 1981.

“The dramatic rise is due to the accumulating toll from AIDS and is almost certain to continue because AIDS deaths reflect infections from HIV, the AIDS virus, that were acquired several years earlier,” Jaffe said.

The tabulations were based on preliminary analysis of data for 1993, the latest year available.

AIDS became the leading cause of death among men ages 25 to 44 in 1992. It remains fourth among women, behind cancer, unintentional injuries and heart disease, but it is expected to replace heart disease and to rise to second place for women in the next few years, Jaffe said. It surpassed homicide and suicide among women in 1992.

More than 440,000 cases of AIDS, including more than 6,000 among children, have been reported to the centers since the epidemic first was recognized.

More than 250,000 people have died from AIDS or AIDS-related causes. About 75 percent of cases have been reported in the 25-to-44 age group.

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