Objective: To examine if there is a significant difference in survival between elderly (>50 years) and nonelderly adult patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy in Uganda between 2004 and 2010.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Methods: Patients 18-49 years of age (nonelderly) and 50 years of age and older enrolled in the AIDS Support Organization Uganda HIV/AIDS national programme were assessed for time to all-cause mortality. We applied a Weibull multivariable regression.
Results: Among the 22 087 patients eligible for analyses, 19 657 (89.0%) were aged between 18 and 49 years and 2430 (11.0%) were aged 50 years or older. These populations differed in terms of the distributions of sex, baseline CD4 cell count and death. The age group 40-44 displayed the lowest crude mortality rate [31.4 deaths per 1000 person-years; 95% confidence interval (CI) 28.1, 34.7) and the age group 60-64 displayed the highest crude mortality rate (58.9 deaths per 1000 person-years; 95% CI 42.2, 75.5). Kaplan-Meier survival estimates indicated that nonelderly patients had better survival than elderly patients (P < 0.001). Adjusted Weibull analysis indicated that elderly age status was importantly associated (adjusted hazard ratio 1.23, 95% CI 1.08-1.42) with mortality, when controlling for sex, baseline CD4 cell count and year of therapy initiation.
Conclusion: As antiretroviral treatment cohorts mature, the proportion of patients who are elderly will inevitably increase. Elderly patients may require focused clinical care that extends beyond HIV treatment.