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The burden of HCV among those living with HIV remains a major public health challenge. We aimed to characterize trends in healthcare-related visits (HRV) of people living with HIV (PLW-HIV) and those living with HIV and HCV (PLW-HIV/HCV), in British Columbia (BC), and to identify risk factors associated with the highest HRV rates over time.
Eligible individuals, recruited from the BC Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS population-based retrospective cohort (N = 3955), were ≥ 18 years old, first started combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) between 01/01/2000–31/12/2013, and were followed for ≥6 months until 31/12/2014. The main outcome was HRV rate. The main exposure was HIV/HCV co-infection status. We built a confounder non-linear mixed effects model, adjusting for several demographic and time-dependent factors.
HRV rates have decreased since 2000 in both groups. The overall age-sex standardized HRV rate (per person-year) among PLW-HIV and PLW-HIV/HCV was 21.11 (95% CI 20.96–21.25) and 41.69 (95% CI 41.51–41.88), respectively. The excess in HRV in the co-infected group was associated with late presentation for ART, history of injection drug use, sub-optimal ART adherence and a higher number of comorbidities. The adjusted HRV rate ratio for PLW-HIV/HCV in comparison to PLW-HIV was 1.18 (95% CI 1.13–1.24).
Although HRV rates have decreased over time in both groups, PLW-HIV/HCV had 18% higher HRV than those only living with HIV. Our results highlight several modifiable risk factors that could be targeted as potential means to minimize the disease burden of this population and of the healthcare system.