Social and behavioral impacts of COVID-19 on people living with HIV: Review of the first year of research


PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic brought unprecedented social change with the most severe impacts on the most vulnerable populations, including people living with HIV (PLWH). This review examined findings from empirical studies of social and behavioral impacts of COVID-19 on PLWH in the first year of the pandemic. RECENT FINDINGS: Impacts of COVID-19 on PLWH fit within an HIV syndemics framework, with overlapping COVID-19 and HIV comorbid conditions concerning mental health and structural inequality. Early impacts of COVID-19 on social isolation, emotional distress, stigma, and substance use varied across studies with few consistent patterns. Structural inequalities, particularly impacts on food security and housing stability, were observed more consistently and globally. COVID-19 intersects with HIV infection along with multiple interlocking comorbidities that are best characterized and understood within a syndemics framework.


Kalichman SC, El-Krab R




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Housing
    • Food security
    • Health services
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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