Bern, Switzerland

The UNAIDS Reference Group held its thematic meeting on “Improving and validating estimates of AIDS deaths” at the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, in Bern Switzerland, 17-18 September 2018 and was divided into the following sessions:

  1. Reconciling model estimates with reported AIDS deaths to in high income countries
  2. Estimates of AIDS mortality data in other concentrated epidemic setting
  3. Case studies of mortality data in sub-Saharan Africa 


The number and trends in AIDS deaths are key indicators for the impact of the AIDS epidemic and the impact of the HIV response, and a core output of the UNAIDS Estimates. Estimates of AIDS deaths are the outcome of several interacting model processes and, though there have been substantial improvements to estimates of AIDS mortality in recent years, model estimates still struggle to reconcile observed data with their predictions. Moreover, new data are increasingly emerging and modelling methods and estimates should be responsive, such as country-specific data about survival of ART patients from surveillance studies, routine patient data about deaths to those on ART, and all-cause mortality data from vital registration.

Reconciling and improving model estimates of AIDS deaths should consider each of the components of AIDS death estimates including incidence estimates, disease progression and mortality for those untreated, allocation of ART, and mortality for those receiving ART. The objectives of this meeting were to come to consensus recommendations for:

  • Interpretation and utilization of AIDS cause of death data from vital registration.
  • Parameter estimates for AIDS mortality amongst persons on ART.
  • Assumptions about patterns of ART initiation and mortality amongst untreated persons in the ART era.

The meeting report and recommendations will be made available shortly.

Day 1

Monday 17 September 2018

Meeting Report – Mortality Meeting 2018.09.17