Objective: A recent consensus defines “late presentation” (LP) during the course of HIV infection as presentation with AIDS whatever the CD4 cell count or with CD4 <350 cells per cubic millimeter. Here, using this new definition, we examined the frequency and predictors of LP and its impact on mortality.
Methods: In antiretroviral-naive patients enrolled in the French Hospital Database on HIV between 2003 and 2009, we studied risk factors for LP by multivariable logistic regression. The impact of LP on mortality was analyzed according to the level of immunodeficiency by using Cox multivariable models adjusted for potential confounders, with follow-up categorized into 0–6, 6–12, and 12–48 months.
Results: There were 11,038 (53.9%) late presenters among the 20,496 patients included in the study. Compared with patients presenting for care with CD4 ≥350 cells per cubic millimeter, patients presenting with AIDS had a very high risk of death with crude hazard ratio ranging from 48.3 during the first 6 months of follow-up to 4.8 during months 12–48; the corresponding values among AIDS-free patients with CD4 ≤200 cells per cubic millimeter were 8.1 and 2.3. Importantly, patients presenting with CD4 between 200 and 350 cells per cubic millimeter also had a significantly increased risk of death beyond 6 months of follow-up (hazard ratio: 3.0 and 1.8 for months 6–12 and 12–48, respectively). Results were similar after adjustment.
Conclusions: LP with HIV infection is still very frequent in France and is associated with higher mortality, even among patients with only moderate immunodeficiency. Encouraging early testing and access to care is still urgently needed.