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Long-term Patterns of Self-reported Opioid Use, VACS Index, and Mortality Among People with HIV Engaged in Care.

Adams JW, Li Y, Barry DT, Gordon KS, Kerns RD, Oldfield BJ, Rentsch CT, Marshall BDL, Edelman EJ. Long-term Patterns of Self-reported Opioid Use, VACS Index, and Mortality Among People with HIV Engaged in Care. AIDS and behavior. 2021 Sep 1; 25(9):2951-2962.

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Longitudinal analyses of opioid use and overall disease severity among people with HIV (PWH) are lacking. We used joint-trajectory and Cox proportional hazard modeling to examine the relationship between self-reported opioid use and the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Index 2.0, a validated measure of disease severity and mortality, among PWH engaged in care. Using data from 2002 and 2018, trajectory modeling classified 20% of 3658 PWH in low (i.e., lower risk of mortality), 40% in moderate, 28% in high, and 12% in extremely high VACS Index trajectories. Compared to those with moderate VACS Index trajectory, PWH with an extremely high trajectory were more likely to have high, then de-escalating opioid use (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 95% confidence interval [CI] 5·17 [3·19-8·37]) versus stable, infrequent use. PWH who report high frequency opioid use have increased disease severity and mortality risk over time, even when frequency of opioid use de-escalates.

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