SummaryTo define the clinical, demographic, and behavioral variables that may influence survival in patients with AIDS, we studied 526 patients with AIDS diagnosed through September 1987 who were cared for at a single medical center. A diversity of racial and ethnic backgrounds, ages, both men and women, and all risk behaviors except hemophilia were well represented. The initial AIDS defining diagnosis was the most powerful predictor of survival. The median survival was 12.8 months for patients presenting with Kaposi's sarcoma (p < 0.001), 10.9 months for patients presenting with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (p < 0.001), and 4.8 months for patients presenting with other infections or neoplasms (p < 0.02). For the entire series, male sex and younger age were associated with more favorable survival (p < 0.025). For those presenting with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, in addition to younger age (p < 0.025), black race (p < 0.025) and the combination of male sex and intravenous drug use (p < 0.005) were associated with a more favorable survival. Within a setting of comparable clinical care, survival from the point of diagnosis of AIDS is associated most strongly with the initial AIDS diagnosis, but differences in age, gender, race, and risk behavior also exert an influence on survival.
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