Late Presenters in an HIV Surveillance System in Italy During the Period 1992-2006

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Objectives:The objectives of this study are to describe trends over time from 1992 to 2006 in the number of newly diagnosed HIV-infected individuals in Modena (Italy) and to describe their clinical and immunological characteristics. We also identify risk factors associated with presenting at late stages of HIV disease.Methods:All new HIV diagnoses with at least 1 CD4+ cell count and known stage of HIV disease were included. Using multivariate logistic regression models, we examined factors associated with being a late presenter, defined as individuals presenting with CD4+ cell count <200 cells per microliter or AIDS within 3 months of their HIV-positive test. A quantile regression model was used to examine changes in CD4+ cell count at presentation and trends over time.Results:Of 844 newly diagnosed individuals included in analyses, 332 (39%) were late presenters, and this proportion remained constant over time (P = 0.106). Older age, male sex, and foreign born were the only determinants of being a late presenter. Persons newly diagnosed in 2002-2006 were less likely to present with an advanced clinical status.Discussion:A substantial proportion of new HIV diagnoses are still at advanced stages of disease. In particular, foreign-born and heterosexual males still represent the largest part of AIDS presenters. Efforts are needed to encourage HIV testing and reduce the proportion who first seek HIV care at such a late stage.

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