Improved survival has shifted the HIV epidemic in the developed world towards more individuals > 50 years of age. Older individuals, with new or longstanding HIV infection, are at greater risk for HIV-related and non-HIV-related conditions, compounding the burden and complexity of HIV management. The aim of the study was to examine the impact of age on the cost of HIV care in a well-defined HIV-infected population.Methods
All HIV-infected individuals > 16 years old receiving HIV care between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2011 were included in the study. The costs of antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV-related out-patient care and HIV-related in-patient care were collected using mean cost per person, per month (PPPM) as the comparator variable for the comparison between older (> 50 years old) and younger (≤ 50 years old) patients.Results
The proportion of older patients increased from 9.6% to 25.4% and proportional costs increased from 25% to 31% from 1999 to 2010. Older patients were more likely than younger patients to be on ART (89% vs. 69%, respectively; P < 0.01) and to have AIDS (29% vs. 20%, respectively; P < 0.05) but had similar median CD4 counts (404 vs. 396 cells/μL, respectively; not significant). They incurred higher costs for all aspects of HIV care throughout the entire 12 years. By 2010, the mean PPPM cost of HIV care for longstanding older patients was $1325 compared with $1075 for younger patients. More expensive ART as a consequence of more complex regimens, more comorbid interactions and greater adherence accounted for most of the cost difference.Conclusions
The aging of the HIV-infected population in care is leading to increased HIV care costs. Health care planners and funding agencies need to be aware of the impact of this important shift in HIV demographics on the overall costs of HIV care.