Risk of adverse coronavirus disease 2019 outcomes for people living with HIV Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Objective: To assess whether people living with HIV (PLWH) are at increased risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mortality or adverse outcomes, and whether antiretroviral therapy (ART) influences this risk. Design: Rapid review with meta-analysis and narrative synthesis. Methods: We searched databases including Embase, Medline, medRxiv and Google Scholar up to 26 August 2020 for studies describing COVID-19 outcomes in PLWH and conducted a meta-analysis of higher quality studies. Results: We identified 1908 studies and included 19 in the review. In a meta-analysis of five studies, PLWH had a higher risk of COVID-19 mortality [hazard ratio 1.95, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.62–2.34] compared with people without HIV. Risk of death remained elevated for PLWH in a subgroup analysis of hospitalized cohorts (hazard ratio 1.60, 95% CI: 1.12–2.27) and studies of PLWH across all settings (hazard ratio 2.08, 95% CI: 1.69–2.56). Eight other studies assessed the association between HIV and COVID-19 outcomes, but provided inconclusive, lower quality evidence due to potential confounding and selection bias. There were insufficient data on the effect of CD4+ T-cell count and HIV viral load on COVID-19 outcomes. Eleven studies reported COVID-19 outcomes by ART-regimen. In the two largest studies, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate-based regimens were associated with a lower risk of adverse COVID-19 outcomes, although these analyses are susceptible to confounding by co-morbidities. Conclusion: Emerging evidence suggests a moderately increased risk of COVID-19 mortality among PLWH. Further investigation into the relationship between COVID-19 outcomes and CD4+ T-cell count, HIV viral load, ART and the use of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate is warranted.


  • Mellor, Maya M
  • Bast, Anne C
  • Jones, Nicholas R
  • Roberts, Nia W
  • Ordóñez-Mena, José M
  • Reith, Alastair JM
  • Butler, Christopher
  • Matthews, Philippa C
  • Dorward, Jienchi

publication date

  • March 15, 2021

published in