A multicentre study on the causes of death among Italian injecting drug users. AIDS has overtaken overdose as the principal cause of death

P. Mezzelani, G. L. Quaglio, L. Venturini, F. Lugoboni, S. R. Friedman, D. C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The causes of death among injecting drug users (IDUs) are still being discussed worldwide. We analysed the causes of death among IDUs attending 26 centres for drug users in North-Eastern Italy from 1985 to 1994. The study of a total number of 1022 deaths reveals the following: (1) AIDS has become the primary cause of death among IDUs since 1991 and is rising even in an area with a moderate HIV seroprevalence; (2) the mean age of death in AIDS patients proved higher than among patients who died of other causes (which may be due to the long incubation period of AIDS); (3) our data do not reveal higher HIV seroprevalence among IDUs who died of overdose and suicide as opposed to IDUs who died of other causes; (4) the mortality rate in IDUs is significantly higher when compared to that of the general population in the same age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this