SARS-CoV-2 infection and coronavirus disease 2019 severity in persons with HIV on antiretroviral treatment


The relative susceptibility of people with HIV (PWH) to Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is debated. Numerous studies have been published with apparently contradictory findings, but comparisons are difficult because they have been conducted in populations with different characteristics (e.g. age, prevalence comorbidities) and have used different comparison groups (e.g. HIV-negative cohorts, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) hospitalized patients, general population), and because of challenges to measure the most important confounders. Here, we review the evidence regarding risk and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in PWH compared with persons without HIV. Publications originate largely from high-income settings where the majority of the PWH are on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Despite early evidence supporting higher frequency of SARS-CoV-2 testing in PWH on ART, HIV infection is not associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, once confounding by socioeconomic characteristic is taken into account. Most publications identify increased COVID-19 severity in PWH compared with people without HIV from the general population or compared with COVID-19 hospitalized patients. The only study with an adequate comparison group to reduce confounding, has not identified differences in COVID-19 disease severity by HIV. Publications consistently identify that COVID-19 severity in PWH is not homogeneous and increases with age and baseline comorbidities. As PWH have a higher prevalence of comorbidities than people without HIV, examining their respective contribution to poor health outcomes is not straight forward as comorbidities could mediate the effect of HIV on COVID-19 outcomes.


Del Amo J, Polo R, Moreno S, Jarrín I, Hernán MA




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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