To investigate the frequencies of opportunistic infections and malignancies associated with European AIDS patients diagnosed from 1979 to 1989, and to relate these findings to the demographic and clinical data including survival.
In order to investigate the frequencies of opportunistic infections and malignancies and in order to correlate these findings to demographic and clinical data in European acquired immunedeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients, a multicentre European Community EC supported study was initiated. At the end of the data collecting phase in February 1992, a total of 52 centres from 17 countries participated in the study by providing detailed information on AIDS patients from the 10 years period to the data handling centre in Copenhagen. The database includes clinical and therapeutical information on 6578 than European AIDS patients.
The overall median survival from the time of AIDS diagnosis was 17 months.
Patients diagnosed in south Europe had a shorter survival than patients from central and north Europe.
An improved survival for patients diagnosed with AIDS in 1987 compared to earlier diagnosis was observed.
Zidovudine was introduced in the clinical management of patients with advanced HIV infection in 1987.
Patients who started zidovudine after the time of the AIDS diagnosis had a decreased risk of dying within the first 1-2 years after time of initiation of therapy compared to untreated patients. However, the effect seems to be limited to 2 years after starting therapy.
There appears to be only minor differences between men and women in the clinical course of AIDS.
For patients with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) as their initial diagnosis, no improvement in survival time was observed.
Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) is the leading complication to the HIV infection.
Improvement in survival from the pneumonia may be due to increased awareness of early symptoms of PCP and improved treatment, whereas the introduction of zidovudine and the routine use of secondary PCP prophylaxis may be responsible for the increased survival 1 and 2 years after the diagnosis observed in recent years.