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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.
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.