HIV-Related Comorbidities Tied to Increased Hospitalizations, Costs

As people living with HIV now have a normal life expectancy, the burden of comorbidities is on the rise, and more than half of deaths in the patient population are attributable to the these comorbidities.

This article originally appeared on The American Journal of Managed Care.

While antiretroviral therapy has transformed the prognosis of HIV, mortality rates among those living with the virus are still 3 to 15 times higher than the general population, likely attributable to the prevalence of noninfectious comorbidities. As people living with HIV now have a normal life expectancy, the burden of comorbidities is on the rise, and more than half of deaths in the patient population are attributable to the these comorbidities.

In addition to contributing to higher mortality rates among the patient population, comorbidities in people living with HIV are also associated with increased hospital utilization and, subsequently, higher costs, according to a new study of patients in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

“Comorbidities complicate caring infrastructures for HIV-infected patients, because patients with multiple diseases and on complex pharmacological treatments are particularly difficult to manage, both in chronic and acute phases,” wrote the researchers. They noted that people living with HIV may have a higher prevalence of comorbidities at a younger age, potentially a result of the HIV infection itself, antiretroviral toxicity, or coinfections, such as hepatitis C.

The study included 1026 patients with HIV aged 18 and older, identified from data in the Abruzzo hospital discharge database from 2004 until 2013. Participants were followed up until December 2015.

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