OBJECTIVE: To assess changes in survival from diagnosis of AIDS for patients managed in a small East London HIV clinic and the impact of therapeutic interventions on these survival patterns. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SETTING: Grahame Hayton Unit, Royal London Hospital. SUBJECTS: 156 AIDS patients managed between 1984 and 1993. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Survival from diagnosis of AIDS. RESULTS: Median survival for those diagnosed with AIDS before 1 January 1987 was 9.4 months compared with 27.2 months after 1 January 1987 (logrank chi 2 = 10.3, p = 0.001): CD4 count at time of AIDS and treatment with zidovudine or PCP prophylaxis were significantly associated with survival from time of AIDS. Of the 156 AIDS patients, 93 had been treated with zidovudine sometime during their follow up, 60 had received primary and 50 secondary Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) prophylaxis. After controlling for gender, sexual orientation, age at time of AIDS, CD4 count at time of AIDS, diagnosis when first presenting to the clinic (AIDS/non-AIDS) and year of AIDS diagnosis, all patients who received either zidovudine or PCP prophylaxis had significant reductions in the risk of dying compared with those who received neither PCP prophylaxis nor zidovudine: a reduction in risk of dying between 71% (95% CI 40% to 86%) and 83% (95% CI 50% to 94%) was observed depending on the combination of zidovudine and PCP prophylaxis. CONCLUSION: A debate is currently taking place about the format and value of HIV service provision with increasing numbers of HIV infected individuals managed at smaller HIV clinics. Larger clinics concentrate clinical expertise on a single site and facilitate clinical trials. Smaller well run HIV units staffed by competent health professionals not only provide clinical outcomes similar to those obtained in the larger centres, but may also allow a more informal and intimate setting for HIV infected individuals who want to be treated nearer their area of residence.
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