Those Living With HIV Have Lower Risk of Omicron Variant Infection

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This was found to be true in a cross-sectional study published in BMC, where 890 adults with HIV and 1,364 HIV-negative adults in China completed the trial through a self-administered online survey.

People who live with HIV have a lower risk of being infected by the Omicron variant rather than HIV-negative people, according to a recent study published in BMC Infectious Diseases.

It was revealed that China, specifically, witnessed a surge of over 80 million Omicron variant cases within a month of ending the "zero COVID" strategy on December 7, 2022.

Throughout this surge, the potential risk faced by those with HIV in China remains uncertain, especially as previous studies suggested higher COVID mortality in individuals with HIV due to their immunocompromised state and increased comorbidity rates.

The "zero COVID" strategy, which was in place for over two years, had effectively controlled the virus's spread in China.

In the cross-sectional study published in BMC, 890 adults with HIV and 1,364 HIV-negative adults both from the Wuchang District, Wuhan, Hubei Province, completed the trial through a self-administered online survey.

Conducted between December 20, 2022, and January 18, 2023, the prevalence of the Omicron variant infection between those with and without HIV was compared, and the factors associated with the variant infection among these groups were monitored.

Differences in gender, chronic disease conditions and COVID vaccination status were observed between the two groups.

While observing these variables, it was found that the risk of COVID infection among those with HIV was lower those without HIV.

Further investigating using multivariable logistic regression revealed that older age and detectable HIV-viral load in those with HIV were associated with a decreased risk COVID.

It was also found that protection against the Omicron variant infection among those without HIV is increased with three doses of inactivated vaccination and one dose of inhaled recombinant AD5-vectored vaccination, compared to one or two doses of a COVID vaccine.

Overall, study authors note the trial proves that those with HIV have a lower risk of Omicron variant infection than those without HIV. However, they suggest that those with HIV who are younger with better immunity should still strengthen the prevention.

To author’s knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the prevalence of COVID infection among those with HIV compared to those without during the Omicron wave after the "zero COVID" strategy ended.

Authors suggest further investigation in the association between COVID and HIV and its risks.

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