The Burden of COVID-19 in People Living with HIV: A Syndemic Perspective

AIDS Behav. 2020 Aug;24(8):2244-2249. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02871-9.


The emergence of the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19 creates another health burden for people living with HIV (PLWH) who face multiple morbidities and may be at heightened risk for severe physical health illness from COVID-19. Our abilities to address these morbidities in PLWH must be considered alongside the socially-produced burdens that both place this population at risk for COVID-19 and heighten the likelihood of adverse outcomes. These burdens can affect the physical, emotional, and social well-being of PLWH and interfere with the delivery of effective healthcare and access to HIV treatment. We posit that a syndemic framework can be used to conceptualize the potential impact of COVID-19 among PLWH to inform the development of health programming services.

Keywords: Antivirals; COVID-19; HIV; Health care; Psychosocial burdens; Syndemic.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology
  • Coronavirus*
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Food Supply
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Services
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Determinants of Health*
  • Syndemic
  • Telemedicine