Comparison of Late HIV Diagnosis as a Marker of Care for Aboriginal Versus Non-Aboriginal People Living with HIV in Ontario
BACKGROUND: Studies have found that Aboriginal people living with HIV/AIDS (APHAs) are more likely than non-APHAs to receive suboptimal HIV care, yet achieve similar clinical outcomes with proper care.OBJECTIVE: To compare the proportions of individuals diagnosed late with HIV between APHAs and non-APHAs within the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study (OCS).METHODS: The analysis included OCS participants who completed the baseline visit by November 2009. Two definitions of the outcome of late HIV diagnosis were used: the proportion of participants with an AIDS-defining illness (ADI) before or within three months of HIV diagnosis; and the proportion of participants with a CD4+ count <200 cells/mL at diagnosis. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the association between Aboriginal ethnicity and late HIV diagnosis.RESULTS: APHAs were more likely to be female and have lower income, education and employment. No statistically significant differences were noted in the proportions receiving a late HIV diagnosis defined by ADI (Aboriginal 5.2% versus non-Aboriginal 6.3%; P=0.40). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed a significant association between Aboriginal ethnicity and late HIV diagnosis defined by CD4+ count after adjusting for age and HIV risk factor (OR 1.55; P=0.04).DISCUSSION: APHAs were more likely to have a CD4+ count <200 cells/mL at diagnosis but had similar clinical outcomes from late diagnosis when defined by ADI. However, differences may be underestimated due to recruitment limitations and selection bias.CONCLUSION: Additional work is needed to address the socioeconomic and health care needs of APHAs.