HIV and Secondary Conditions Lengthen Hospital Stays

With medical costs on the rise, reducing hospital stays and expenses are in the best interests of all involved. Researchers decided to investigate how hospital stays differ for those who have HIV and secondary conditions. In an effort to organize and better manage time and resources, a study was conducted on the length, cost and complications of certain hospital stays. The results could help medical institutes come up with ways to better care for their patients, especially those with multiple medical issues.

In particular, HIV patients with secondary conditions—those that could become critical—were observed because their stays differed from those of the other patients. These were then broken down into categories, depending on infirmity. Conditions such as mental illness, obesity, hypertension and diabetes were looked at, with particular focus on the first. The reason for this special attention was that research showed that up to 50 percent of HIV patients also suffer from some form of mental illness.

The statistic has to do with the patients’ average age. Unfortunately, patients with HIV were much younger than those without HIV, with the difference being nearly a decade. Next, of the patients with HIV admitted to the hospital with a secondary condition, 7 percent died in the hospital. The time spent admitted in the hospital was 60 percent greater with HIV patients. The cost was much higher, too—over 75 percent more, in fact, than patients with no HIV infection.

These numbers show that education, reorganizing and planning may be necessary to reduce some of these numbers. This would mean that patients with HIV and secondary conditions might be able to reduce the amount of time spent in the hospital, thus reducing costs too. Awareness of the needs and severity of illness of HIV patients benefits not only the patients themselves but will help focus resources for medical institutions as well.