Late presentation for HIV diagnosis and care in Germany

HIV Med. 2012 Mar;13(3):172-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2011.00958.x. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Objectives: Antiretroviral therapy reduces mortality and morbidity in HIV-infected individuals most markedly when initiated early, before advanced immunodeficiency has developed. Late presentation for diagnosis and care remains a significant challenge. To guide public health interventions effectively it is crucial to describe the factors associated with late presentation.

Methods: Case surveillance data for all individuals newly diagnosed with HIV infection in Germany in the years 2001-2010 and data for the years 1999-2010 from the German Clinical Surveillance of HIV Disease (ClinSurv) cohort study, a large multicentre observational study, were analysed. Factors associated with late presentation (CD4 count < 350 cells/μL or clinical AIDS) were assessed using descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression methods.

Results: Among 22 925 eligible patients in the national surveillance database, 49.5% were late presenters for HIV diagnosis. Among 6897 treatment-naïve patients in the ClinSurv cohort, 58.1% were late presenters for care. Late presenters for care were older (median 42 vs. 39 years for early presenters), more often heterosexuals from low-prevalence countries (18.1% vs. 15.5%, respectively) and more often migrants (18.2% vs. 9.7%, respectively; all P < 0.005). The probability of late presentation was >65% throughout the observation period in migrants. The probability of late presentation for care clearly decreased in men who have sex with men (MSM) from 60% in 1999 to 45% in 2010.

Conclusions: In Germany, the numbers of late presenters for HIV diagnosis and care remain high. The probability of late presentation for HIV diagnosis seems to be particularly high for migrants. These results argue in favour of targeted test promotion rather than opt-out screening. Late presentation for care seems to be an additional problem after HIV diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Cohort Studies
  • Delayed Diagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • HIV Seropositivity / diagnosis*
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy*
  • HIV Seropositivity / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Public Health
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • HIV Protease Inhibitors
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors