COVID-19 Severe Risks Not Significant in People with HIV


A new study from IAS 2021 suggests persons with HIV hospitalized for COVID-19 do not face worse mortality nor major cardiovascular event risk.

A new study presented at the International AIDS Society (IAS) 2021 Conference on HIV Science showed people living with HIV hospitalized with COVID-19 did not face significantly increased risk of in-hospital mortality nor COVID-19 illness severity and length.

The findings, presented in a late-breaking abstract session by author Matthew S. Durstenfeld, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in the UCSF Division of Cardiology, are the largest study to date observed US persons with HIV and COVID-19 hospitalization.

Durstenfeld and colleagues additionally observed in their patient population of 220 HIV-positive patients and 21,308 HIV-negative patients that major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) were not significantly associated with COVID-19 plus HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.99; 95% CI, 0.69 - 1.44; P = .91), nor were ICU admittance (aOR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.65 - 1.23; P = .49) or mechanical ventilation (aOR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.71 - 1.40; P = 1.00).

In an interview with Contagion during IAS 2021, Durstenfeld discussed the underlying similarities of HIV and COVID-19 burden in US patients—most notably, their associations with patient population disparities.

“The risk for COVID is equally maldistributed,” Durstenfeld said. “There’s obviously a lot of disparities in both epidemics, and I think we saw some of those same disparities and risk factors.”

In discussing the findings, Durstenfeld explained his team was surprised to find such sociodemographic-discriminate effects did not seem to result in worse outcomes among patients with both HIV and COVID-19.

“I think we expected those cardiovascular risk factors to portend worse outcomes—and certainly that’s been seen in other studies,” Durstenfeld said. “But at least in our study, we didn’t find majorly increased risks despite those risk factors.”

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