Background: The incidence and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) among HIV-positive persons receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) have not been characterized in large populations.
Objective: To describe the incidence and severity of COVID-19 by nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) use among HIV-positive persons receiving ART.
Design: Cohort study.
Setting: HIV clinics in 60 Spanish hospitals between 1 February and 15 April 2020.
Participants: 77 590 HIV-positive persons receiving ART.
Measurements: Estimated risks (cumulative incidences) per 10 000 persons and 95% CIs for polymerase chain reaction-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and death. Risk and 95% CIs for COVID-19 diagnosis and hospital admission by use of the NRTIs tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)/emtricitabine (FTC), tenofovir alafenamide (TAF)/FTC, abacavir (ABC)/lamivudine (3TC), and others were estimated through Poisson regression models.
Results: Of 77 590 HIV-positive persons receiving ART, 236 were diagnosed with COVID-19, 151 were hospitalized, 15 were admitted to the ICU, and 20 died. The risks for COVID-19 diagnosis and hospitalization were greater in men and persons older than 70 years. The risk for COVID-19 hospitalization was 20.3 (95% CI, 15.2 to 26.7) among patients receiving TAF/FTC, 10.5 (CI, 5.6 to 17.9) among those receiving TDF/FTC, 23.4 (CI, 17.2 to 31.1) among those receiving ABC/3TC, and 20.0 (CI, 14.2 to 27.3) for those receiving other regimens. The corresponding risks for COVID-19 diagnosis were 39.1 (CI, 31.8 to 47.6), 16.9 (CI, 10.5 to 25.9), 28.3 (CI, 21.5 to 36.7), and 29.7 (CI, 22.6 to 38.4), respectively. No patient receiving TDF/FTC was admitted to the ICU or died.
Limitation: Residual confounding by comorbid conditions cannot be completely excluded.
Conclusion: HIV-positive patients receiving TDF/FTC have a lower risk for COVID-19 and related hospitalization than those receiving other therapies. These findings warrant further investigation in HIV preexposure prophylaxis studies and randomized trials in persons without HIV.
Primary funding source: Instituto de Salud Carlos III and National Institutes of Health.