Summary. In resource-rich countries, the incidence of and mortality from AIDS has fallen dramatically since the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy. In contrast, developed countries have observed increases in the public health burden associated with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). We compared past and current trends in mortality related to HCV sequelae and HIV/AIDS in Scotland by linking death records with national databases of persons diagnosed with HCV and HIV/AIDS. AIDS-related deaths increased rapidly during the late-1980s to mid-1990s and declined dramatically after 1996. Deaths related to HCV (i.e., viral hepatitis, liver cancer, alcoholic liver disease, or non-alcoholic liver disease) surpassed the number of AIDS-related deaths in 1998 and increased at an average annual rate of 10.5% (95% confidence interval = 7–14%) during 1996–2005. The leading underlying cause of HCV-related deaths was alcoholic liver disease (50% of deaths during 2001–2005). This study highlights the increasing public health burden, vis-à-vis mortality, of HCV, when compared with HIV/AIDS in developed countries. Increased diagnosis and treatment of eligible HCV-infected individuals will be required if we wish to mitigate the future impact of HCV morbidity and mortality.
- Hepatitis C
- combination antiretroviral therapy