A review of more than 200 studies found no greater risk of contracting COVID-19 among those with HIV but a greater chance of experiencing a severe case.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in 2020, the healthcare community anticipated that people with HIV and other conditions that affected the immune system might be particularly vulnerable to the new respiratory illness.
So far, it looks like their worries were justified when it comes to people with HIV, at least with respect to the risk of experiencing a severe case of COVID-19,
“Although initial case studies and small cohorts found similar rates of infection and severity in PWH (people with HIV), the growing literature in diverse settings throughout the course of the pandemic now suggests that PWH are at greater risk for severe disease, even with well-controlled HIV,” Lauren K. Barbera, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and her colleagues said in a review article recently published in HIV Research and Clinical Practice.
In one study of over 3 million South African patients included in their analysis, the researchers found that having HIV was associated with a two-fold risk of COVID-19 death, regardless of CD4 count or HIV viral load. Other studies included in the analysis reported similar findings.
The review by Barbera and her colleagues included 212 articles published between March 2020 through July of this year.
The jury is still out, though, on whether people living with HIV are more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19, according to this sweeping review of the HIV-COVID-19 studies. People living with HIV, who account for 0.7% of the world’s adult population, account for approximately 0.5% to 1.5% of COVID-19 cases, they noted.
Here are some other findings about the interplay of HIV and COVID-19 revealed by the review: