We investigated differences in clinical outcomes in heterosexual participants, by ethnicity in the UK Collaborative HIV Cohort Study from 2000 to 2017.
Logistic/proportional hazard regression assessed ethnic group differences in CD4+ cell count at presentation, engagement-in-care, combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) initiation, viral suppression and rebound.
Of 12 302 participants [median age: 37 (interquartile range: 31–44) years, 52.5% women, total follow-up: 85 846 person-years], 64.4% were black African, 19.1% white, 6.3% black Caribbean, 3.6% black other, 3.3% South Asian/other Asian and 3.4% other/mixed. CD4+ cell count at presentation amongst participants from non-white groups were lower than the white group. Participants were engaged-in-care for 79.6% of follow-up time; however, black and other/mixed groups were less likely to be engaged-in-care than the white group (adjusted odds ratios vs. white: black African: 0.70 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–0.79], black Caribbean: 0.74 (0.63–0.88), other/mixed: 0.78 (0.62–0.98), black other: 0.81 (0.64–1.02)). Of 8867 who started cART, 79.1% achieved viral suppression, with no differences by ethnicity in cART initiation or viral suppression. Viral rebound (22.2%) was more common in the black other [1.95 (1.37–2.77)], black African [1.85 (1.52–2.24)], black Caribbean [1.73 (1.28–2.33)], South Asian/other Asian [1.35 (0.90–2.03)] and other/mixed [1.09 (0.69–1.71)] groups than in white participants.
Heterosexual people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups presented with lower CD4+ cell counts, spent less time engaged-in-care and were more likely to experience viral rebound than white people. Work to understand and address these differences is needed.