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Increased Risk of Suicide in Persons With AIDS

Peter M. Marzuk, MD; Helen Tierney, MD; Kenneth Tardiff, MD, MPH; Elliot M. Gross, MD; Edward B. Morgan, MPH; Ming-Ann Hsu, MPH; J. John Mann, MD
JAMA. 1988;259(9):1333-1337. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720090023028.
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The rate of suicide has been reported to be higher in persons with chronic and life-threatening illnesses (eg, cancer, Huntington's disease, and renal failure). We studied the rate of suicide in 1985 in New York City residents diagnosed with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There were 668 suicides in New York City residents in 1985, yielding a rate of 9.29 per 100000 personyears. In men aged 20 to 59 years without a known diagnosis of AIDS, the rate was 18.75 per 100000 person-years. There were 3828 individuals who lived with the diagnosis of AIDS for some part, or all, of 1985. There were 12 suicides in men aged 20 to 59 years from this group who lived 1763.25 person-years with a diagnosis of AIDS. This yields a suicide rate of 680.56 per 100000 person-years. Thus, the relative risk of suicide in men with AIDS aged 20 to 59 years was 36.30 times (95% confidence limits, 20.45 to 64.42) that of men aged 20 to 59 years without this diagnosis, and 66.15 times (95% confidence limits, 37.38 to 117.06) that of the general population. We conclude that AIDS represents a significant risk factor for suicide.

(JAMA 1988;259:1333-1337)


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