Cohort profile: the Comparative Outcomes And Service Utilization Trends (COAST) Study among people living with and without HIV in British Columbia, Canada

BMJ Open. 2018 Jan 13;8(1):e019115. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019115.


Purpose: The Comparative Outcomes And Service Utilization Trends (COAST) Study in British Columbia (BC), Canada, was designed to evaluate the determinants of health outcomes and health care services use among people living with HIV (PLHIV) as they age in the period following the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). The study also assesses how age-associated comorbidities and health care use among PLHIV may differ from those observed in the general population.

Participants: COAST was established through a data linkage between two provincial data sources: The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Drug Treatment Program, which centrally manages cART dispensation across BC and contains prospectively collected data on demographic, immunological, virological, cART use and other clinical information for all known PLHIV in BC; and Population Data BC, a provincial data repository that holds individual event-level, longitudinal data for all 4.6 million BC residents. COAST participants include 13 907 HIV-positive adults (≥19 years of age) and a 10% random sample inclusive of 516 340 adults from the general population followed from 1996 to 2013.

Findings to date: For all participants, linked individual-level data include information on demographics, health service use (eg, inpatient care, outpatient care and prescription medication dispensations), mortality, and HIV diagnostic and clinical data. Publications from COAST have demonstrated the significant mortality reductions and dramatic changes in the causes of death among PLHIV from 1996 to 2012, differences in the amount of time spent in a healthy state by HIV status, and high levels of injury and mood disorder diagnosis among PLHIV compared with the general population.

Future plans: To capture the dynamic nature of population health parameters, regular data updates and a refresh of the data linkage are planned to occur every 2 years, providing the basis for planned analysis to examine age-associated comorbidities and patterns of health service use over time.

Keywords: HIV; aging; cohort study; data linkage; health care service use; health outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Health Services
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Reference Values
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents