People living with HIV (PLWH) had higher rates of non-AIDS comorbidities before being diagnosed with the virus than the general population, a Danish study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases found.
Researchers matched 2,322 PLWH with five general-population controls each, for a total of 14,028 participants for whom up to 20 years of health data were analyzed. People who inject drugs were excluded from the study.
Ten years before HIV diagnosis, comorbidity prevalence was 5.5% in PLWH compared to 4.8% in the control group. Liver disease, in particular, was more common among those subsequently diagnosed with HIV, at an odds ratio of 1.94 compared to controls.
In the PLWH group, the rate of comorbidities increased around the time of HIV diagnosis. Study authors reasoned that this may be due to people being diagnosed with a comorbidity when they were tested for HIV or, conversely, having an HIV test when they sought care for the comorbidity.
Overall, the study authors suggested that higher rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol use among PLWH prior to HIV diagnosis are likely to blame for these findings, and recommended that interventions start at HIV diagnosis.