Global and regional prevalence and outcomes of COVID-19 in people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis


BACKGROUND: The relationship between HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and COVID-19 clinical outcome is uncertain, with conflicting data and hypotheses. We aimed to assess the prevalence of people living with HIV (PLWH) among COVID-19 cases and whether HIV infection affects the risk of severe COVID-19 or related death at the global and continental level. METHODS: Electronic databases were systematically searched in July 2021. In total, 966 studies were screened following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Narratives were synthesised and data pooled for the global and continental prevalence of HIV-SARS-CoV-2 coinfection. The relative risks of severity and mortality in HIV-infected COVID-19 patients were computed using a random-effect model. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa score and Egger’s test, and presented as funnel plots. RESULTS: In total, 43 studies were included involving 692,032 COVID-19 cases, of whom 9097 (1.3%) were PLWH. The global prevalence of PLWH among COVID-19 cases was 2% (95% CI = 1.7–2.3%), with the highest prevalence observed in sub-Saharan Africa. The relative risk (RR) of severe COVID-19 in PLWH was significant only in Africa (RR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.05–1.24), while the relative risk of mortality was 1.5 (95% CI = 1.45–2.03) globally. The calculated global risk showed that HIV infection may be linked with increased COVID-19 death. The between-study heterogeneity was significantly high, while the risk of publication bias was not significant. CONCLUSIONS: Although there is a low prevalence of PLWH among COVID-19 cases, HIV infection may increase the severity of COVID-19 in Africa and increase the risk of death globally.


Oyelade T, Alqahtani JS, Hjazi AM, Li A, Kamila A, Raya RP




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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