Objective: To estimate annual employment rates and disability retirement rates (DRRs) among HIV-infected individuals and population controls during the period 1996–2011.
Design: A population-based cohort study including all HIV-infected individuals born in Denmark and not reporting intravenous (i.v.) drug abuse as a route of HIV infection or diagnosed with hepatitis C infection (n = 2799) and 22 369 individually matched persons from the background population. Study inclusion was 1 January 1996 or HIV diagnosis, which ever came last.
Methods: Data on employment status and disability pension were extracted from Danish national registries. Employment rate and DRR were estimated in each calendar year after study inclusion for the cohorts included before 1996 (pre-1996), 1996–1999 and 2000–2011.
Results: Employment rate in the year of study inclusion increased from 54.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 50.5–59.6] in the pre-1996 cohort to 74.6% (66.9–83.2) and 77.4% (72.8–82.2) in the 1996–1999 and 2000–2011 cohorts, respectively, compared with 85.9–87.2% in the comparison cohorts. Five years from study inclusion, employment rates were 56.1 (51.4–61.1), 66.2 (58.7–74.6) and 70.9% (65.0–77.3) in the pre-1996, 1996–1999 and 2000–2011 cohorts, respectively, compared with 82.5–85.6% in the comparison cohorts. Five years from study inclusion, DRRs were 32.3 (28.9–36.3) in the pre-1996 cohort and decreased to 17.8 (14.1–22.4) and 11.6% (9.4–14.4) in the 1996–1999 and 2000–2011 cohorts, respectively, compared with 5.1–7.2% in the comparison cohorts.
Conclusion: After the introduction of HAART, employment rates have increased profoundly among HIV-infected individuals, but have remained lower than in the background population. During the same period, DRRs decreased among HIV-infected individuals, but still remained higher than in the background population.