Journal Article

Group Living a Factor With HIV and COVID-19


In a Massachusetts hospital a group of 36 people living with HIV and having COVID-19 was identified. Almost 85% had a comorbidity, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension, and also had severe COVID-19 disease. Almost 77% were non-Hispanic Black or Latino compared with 40% in the clinic. In addition living in a group setting was common.  These findings  emphasize the need to address comorbidites and congregate living in these minority groups with HIV and COVID-19.


BACKGROUND: Many people living with HIV (PLWH) have comorbidities which are risk factors for severe COVID-19 or have exposures that may lead to acquisition of SARS-CoV-2. There are few studies, however, on the demographics, comorbidities, clinical presentation or outcomes of COVID-19 in people with HIV. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate risk factors, clinical manifestations and outcomes in a large cohort of PLWH with COVID-19.

METHODS: We systematically identified all PLWH who were diagnosed with COVID-19 at a large hospital from March 3 to April 26, 2020 during an outbreak in Massachusetts. We analyzed each of the cases to extract information including demographics, medical comorbidities, clinical presentation, and illness course after COVID-19 diagnosis.

RESULTS: We describe a cohort of 36 PLWH with confirmed COVID-19 and another 11 patients with probable COVID-19. Almost 85% of PLWH with confirmed COVID-19 had a comorbidity associated with severe disease, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension. Approximately 77% of PLWH with COVID-19 were non-Hispanic Black or Latinx whereas only 40% of the PLWH in our clinic were Black or Latinx. Nearly half of PLWH with COVID-19 had exposure to congregate settings. In addition to people with confirmed COVID-19, we identified another 11 individuals with probable COVID-19, almost all of whom had negative PCR testing.

CONCLUSION: In the largest cohort to date of PLWH and confirmed COVID-19, almost all had a comorbidity associated with severe disease, highlighting the importance of non-HIV risk factors in this population. The racial disparities and frequent link to congregate settings in PLWH and COVID-19 need to be explored urgently.

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