COVID-19 outcomes in HIV-positive patients

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – the virus responsible for the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic – has led to considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide.1 What has become apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic is that the most severe cases and mortality tend to occur in people with underlying health conditions.2 Naturally, this has raised concerns that immunocompromised patients may be among those at increased risk of complications and morbidity during the COVID-19 pandemic.2, 3 Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the delivery of global health services – including provision of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-related services.4

Since today is World AIDS Day 2020, the team here at BEYOND Communication was keen to understand more about COVID-19 outcomes in HIV-positive patients. A systematic review of eight studies (in Spain, Germany, China and USA) reporting on clinical outcomes in people living with HIV infected with SARS-CoV-2 was recently conducted by Cooper et al.5 The findings indicate that people living with HIV with well-controlled disease (i.e., undetectable viral load and adequate CD4 T cell count) are currently not at risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes, compared with the general population. In other words, it appears that well-managed HIV infection is not a risk factor for more severe COVID-19. However, it is less clear at present if people with poorly controlled HIV disease and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have worse COVID-19 outcomes. Further research is, thus, required to fully investigate outcomes in patients with HIV/AIDS and COVID-19, and we envisage that the findings are eagerly anticipated…


  1. Karmen-Tuohy S, Carlucci PM, Zervou FN, et al. Outcomes Among HIV-Positive Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2020;85:6-10.
  2. Posada-Vergara MP, Alzate-Ángel JC, Martínez-Buitrago E. COVID-19 and VIH. Colomb Med (Cali). 2020;51:e4327.
  3. D’Antiga L. Coronaviruses and Immunosuppressed Patients: The Facts During the Third Epidemic. Liver Transpl. 2020;26:832-834.
  4. Vrazo AC, Golin R, Fernando NB, et al. Adapting HIV services for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, children, adolescents and families in resource-constrained settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. J Int AIDS Soc. 2020;23:e25622.
  5. Cooper TJ, Woodward BL, Alom S, et al. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes in HIV/AIDS patients: a systematic review. HIV Med. 2020;DOI: 10.1111/hiv.12911.