AIDS, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans since the first cases were reported in 1981, has become the second-leading killer of young U.S. men, surpassing heart disease, cancer and suicide, federal health officials said Thursday.
“Unintentional injuries,” which includes homicides, remained the leading cause of death for men ages 25 to 44 in 1989, the last year for which figures were available. In 1989, 13,350 men in that group died of AIDS-related causes.
In 1988, AIDS was the third-leading cause of death in that age group, officials said.
Dr. Ruth Berkelman, chief of AIDS surveillance of the federal Centers for Disease Control, reported the new statistics in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, AIDS already is the leading cause of death among young adult men.
The disease also is taking an increasing toll among women. By 1988, AIDS and other infections caused by the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus ranked eighth among causes of death of women ages 25 to 44, the CDC said.
“In 1991, based on current trends, HIV infection/AIDS is likely to rank among the five leading causes of death in this population,” the CDC said.
About half of the infected women were intravenous drug abusers and an increasing proportion were sex partners of drug abusers, Berkelman said.
Overall in 1989, acquired immune deficiency syndrome accounted for 10% of all young adult deaths, Berkelman said.
Nearly one-third of the 100,777 AIDS patients who succumbed to the disease from 1981 through 1990 died last year, she said.
Fifty-nine percent of the AIDS deaths occurred among men identified as homosexual or bisexual and 21% occurred among women and heterosexual men who used intravenous drugs. Death rates were highest for those ages 25 to 44 and for blacks and Latinos.