Objective: To examine how multimorbidity might affect progression along the continuum of care among older adults with hypertension, diabetes and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in rural South Africa
Methods: We analysed data from 4447 people aged 40 years or older who were enrolled in a longitudinal study in Agincourt sub-district. Household-based interviews were completed between November 2014 and November 2015. For hypertension and diabetes (2813 and 512 people, respectively), we defined concordant conditions as other cardiometabolic conditions, and discordant conditions as mental disorders or HIV infection. For HIV infection (1027 people) we defined any other conditions as discordant. Regression models were fitted to assess the relationship between the type of multimorbidity and progression along the care continuum and the likelihood of patients being in each stage of care for the index condition (four stages from testing to treatment).
Findings: People with hypertension or diabetes plus other cardiometabolic conditions were more like to progress through the care continuum for the index condition than those without cardiometabolic conditions (relative risk, RR: 1.14, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.09-1.20, and RR: 2.18, 95% CI: 1.52-3.26, respectively). Having discordant comorbidity was associated with greater progression in care for those with hypertension but not diabetes. Those with HIV infection plus cardiometabolic conditions had less progress in the stages of care compared with those without such conditions (RR: 0.86, 95% CI: 0.80-0.92). Conclusion: Patients with concordant conditions were more likely to progress further along the care continuum, while those with discordant multimorbidity tended not to progress beyond diagnosis.