HIV infection does not affect the risk of death of COVID-19 patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiological studies


Background: Even during the current Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) continues to pose a major threat, worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined the HIV infection as a risk factor for both severe COVID-19, at hospital admission, and in-hospital mortality. Despite this evidence, however, there remains the need for investigating whether SARS-CoV-2 infection could increase the risk of death among people living with HIV (PLHIV). Thus, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 infection on the risk of death among PLHIV and HIV- seronegative people.

Methods: The literature search was carried out on PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases, from the inception to February 2022. Epidemiological studies on patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection, which compared the proportion of deaths between PLHIV and HIV-seronegative people, were considered eligible for the inclusion. The pooled odds ratio (OR) was obtained through meta-analysis of the comparison between PLHIV and HIV-seronegative people. Study quality was assessed by using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment.

Results: On a total of 1001 records obtained from the literature search, the present systematic review and meta-analysis included 28 studies on 168 531 PLHIV and 66 712 091 HIV-seronegative patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The meta-analysis showed no difference in the risk of death between PLHIV and HIV-seronegative patients (OR = 1.09; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.93–1.26; P > 0.001). However, a significant heterogeneity was found for this comparison (I2 = 88.8%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Although our meta-analysis suggests no difference in the risk of death of PLHIV with SARS-CoV-2 infection, if compared with HIV-seronegative patients, further research should be encouraged to improve the current knowledge about the impact of SARS-CoV-2 and HIV co-infection.


Favara G, Barchitta M, Maugeri A, Faro G, Agodi A




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


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