People with HIV more likely to get sick with, die from Covid: Study

New York, May 12 (IANS): People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and fatal outcomes from Covid-19, new research has shown.

The study led by Pennsylvania State University researchers found that people living with HIV had a 24 per cent higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and a 78 per cent higher risk of death from Covid-19 than people without HIV.

The most common comorbidities among the HIV-positive population were hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease.

The pre-existing conditions among people living with HIV/AIDS may contribute to the severity of their Covid-19 cases. The beneficial effects of antiviral drugs, such astenofovir and protease-inhibitors, in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and death from Covid-19 in people living with HIV/AIDS remain inconclusive, according to the researchers

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports.

"As the pandemic has evolved, we've obtained sufficient information to characterise the epidemiology of HIV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection, which could not be done at the beginning of the pandemic due to scarcity of data," said Vernon Chinchilli, from Penn State's Department of Public Health Sciences.

"Our findings support the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to prioritise persons living with HIV to receive a Covid-19 vaccine,"Chinchilli added.

They assessed data from 22 previous studies that included nearly 21 million participants in North America, Africa, Europe and Asia to determine to what extent people living with HIV/AIDS are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and death from Covid-19.

Over the past year, studies have revealed that certain pre-existing conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure, can increase a person's risk of dying from Covid-19. According to the World Health Organization an estimated 38 million worldwide live with HIV.



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