The influence of race and comorbidity on the timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy among older persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Abara WE, Smith L, Zhang S, Fairchild AJ, Heiman HJ, Rust G.

Am J Public Health. 2014 Nov;104(11):e135-41. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302227. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

OBJECTIVES: We examined whether the timely initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) differed by race and comorbidity among older (>/= 50 years) people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). METHODS: We conducted frequency and descriptive statistics analysis to characterize our sample, which we drew from 2005-2007 Medicaid claims data from 14 states. We employed univariate and multivariable Cox regression analyses to evaluate the relationship between race, comorbidity, and timely ART initiation (</= 90 days post-HIV/AIDS diagnosis). RESULTS: Approximately half of the participants did not commence ART promptly. After we adjusted for covariates, we found that older PLWHA who reported a comorbidity were 40% (95% confidence interval = 0.26, 0.61) as likely to commence ART promptly. We found no racial differences in the timely initiation of ART among older PLWHA. CONCLUSIONS: Comorbidities affect timely ART initiation in older PLWHA. Older PLWHA may benefit from integrating and coordinating HIV care with care for other comorbidities and the development of ART treatment guidelines specific to older PLWHA. Consistent Medicaid coverage helps ensure consistent access to HIV treatment and care and may eliminate racial disparities in timely ART initiation among older PLWHA.

PMID: 25211735

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.