The impact of HIV-associated lipodystrophy on healthcare utilization and costs

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Background; HIV disease itself is associated with increased healthcare utilization and healthcare expenditures. HIV-infected persons with lipodystrophy have been shown to have poor self-perceptions of health. We evaluated whether lipodystrophy in the HIV-infected population was associated with increased utilization of healthcare services and increased healthcare costs. Objective: To examine utilization of healthcare services and associated costs with respect to presence of lipodystrophy among HIV-infected patients. Methods: Healthcare utilization and cost of healthcare services were collected from computerized accounting records for participants in a body image study among HIV-infected patients treated at a tertiary care medical center. Lipodystrophy was assessed by physical examination, and effects of lipodystrophy were assessed via body image surveys. Demographic and clinical characteristics were also ascertained. Analysis of healthcare utilization and cost outcomes was performed via between-group analyses. Multivariate modeling was used to determine predictors of healthcare utilization and associated costs. Results: Of the 181 HIV-infected participants evaluated in the study, 92 (51%) had clinical evidence of HIV-associated lipodystrophy according to physician examination. Total healthcare utilization, as measured by the number of medical center visits over the study period, was notably increased among HIV-infected subjects with lipodystrophy as compared to HIV-infected subjects without lipodystrophy. Similarly, total healthcare expenditures over the study period were $1,718 more for HIV-infected subjects with lipodystrophy than for HIV-infected subjects without lipodystrophy. Multivariate modeling demonstrated strong associations between healthcare utilization and associated costs, and lipodystrophy score as assessed by a clinician. Healthcare utilization and associated costs were not related to body image survey scores among HIV-infected patients with lipodystrophy. Conclusion: Patients with HIV-associated lipodystrophy demonstrate an increased utilization of healthcare services with associated increased healthcare costs as compared to HIV-infected patients without lipodystrophy. The economic and healthcare service burdens of HIV-associated lipodystrophy are significant and yet remain inadequately addressed by the medical community. © 2008 Huang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Huang, J. S., Becerra, K., Fernandez, S., Lee, D., & Mathews, W. C. (2008). The impact of HIV-associated lipodystrophy on healthcare utilization and costs. AIDS Research and Therapy, 5.

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