Systematic review and meta-analyses of the interaction between HIV infection and COVID-19: Two years’ evidence summary



During the COVID-19 pandemic, people living with HIV (PLWH) were considered to be at risk of worse COVID-19 outcomes once infected. However, the existing evidence is inconsistent. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to compare the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe COVID-19 symptoms, and mortality among PLWH and patients without HIV.


The articles included studies published in PubMed, Medline, Embase, and Cochrane between December 1, 2019, and December 1, 2021. We included the original studies published in English focusing on observational studies assessing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe COVID-19 symptoms, and mortality among PLWH. Four independent reviewers extracted data. STrengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology-Modified (STROBE-M) checklist was used for quality assessment. For the results with heterogeneity I2 >75%, a random-effects model was employed. Otherwise, a fixed-effects model was used. The risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe COVID-19 symptoms, and mortality were compared with and without HIV.


We included a total of 32 studies and 71,779,737 study samples, of whom 797,564 (1.11%) were PLWH. Compared with COVID-19 patients without HIV infection, PLWH had comparable risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted Risk Ratio=1.07, 95% CI: 0.53–2.16, I2 = 96%, study n=6, n=20,199,805) and risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms (aRR=1.06, 95% CI: 0.97–1.16, I2 = 75%, n=10, n=2,243,370). PLWH, if infected with SARS-CoV-2, were found to have an increased risk of mortality compared with people without HIV (aRR=1.30, 95% CI: 1.09–1.56, I2 = 76%, study n=16, n=71,032,659). This finding was consistent across different subgroup analyses.


PLWH are at increased risk of COVID-19 related mortality once infected. The local health system should, on the one hand, strengthen COVID-19 prevention and clinical management among PLWH to avoid infection and, on the other hand, sustain the HIV care continuum for PLWH for HIV management.


Wang Y, Xie Y, Hu S, Ai W, Tao Y, Tang H, Jing F, Tang W




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


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