Late HIV presentation – missed opportunities and factors associated with a changing pattern over time
Delayed diagnosis of HIV infection has negative clinical, economic and public health implications. The study primary aim was to identify factors associated with late HIV presentation (Late Presenters [LPS], CD4 cell count < 350 cells/mm3). A secondary aim was to identify changing trends of late HIV presentation from 2002 to 2014 at our centre. A retrospective cohort study was performed. Demographic data and CD4 cell count of new HIV diagnoses presenting to our ambulatory HIV service over four time-periods from 2002 to 2014 were recorded. Proportion of LPS and factors associated with late presentation were compared using Graphpad Instat. In 2014, of 231 new patients attending for HIV care, 75 (32.6%) were late presenters versus 146 (66.4%) in 2002. This indicates a decreasing proportion of LPS from 2002 to 2014. However, the proportion of those with CD4 cell counts <200 on presentation at these two time intervals remain unchanged. The overall proportion of male LPS has increased over time and the proportion of LPS in the men who have sex with men (MSM) cohort has decreased over time, reflecting increased frequency of both HIV testing and diagnoses in MSM in recent years. The proportion of heterosexual LPS has not changed significantly in the same time period and LPS were older in 2014 versus 2002. The proportion of LPS defined by CD4 cell count remains higher than is justifiable in an era of increased HIV testing and awareness. Further targets for HIV testing to decrease rates of LPS include non-traditional risk groups including heterosexual and older patient cohorts. LPS rates are lower than rates found internationally, and it is possible that consensus definition of LPS needs to be revised.