Clinical characteristics, risk factors, and incidence of symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 in a large cohort of adults living with HIV: a single-center, prospective observational study

AIDS. 2020 Oct 1;34(12):1775-1780. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000002643.


Background: It is unclear how characteristics, risk factors, and incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in people living with HIV (PLWH) differ from the general population.

Methods: Prospective observational single-center cohort study of adult PLWH reporting symptoms of COVID-19. We assessed clinical characteristics, risk factors for COVID-19 diagnosis and severity, and standardized incidence rate ratio for COVID-19 cases in PLWH cohort and in Barcelona.

Results: From 1 March 2020 to 10 May 2020, 53 out of 5683 (0.9% confidence interval 0.7-1.2%) PLWH were diagnosed with COVID-19. Median age was 44 years, CD4 T cells were 618/μl and CD4/CD8 was 0.90. All but two individuals were virologically suppressed. Cough (87%) and fever (82%) were the most common symptoms. Twenty-six (49%) were admitted, six (14%) had severe disease, four (8%) required ICU admission, and two (4%) died. Several laboratory markers (lower O2 saturation and platelets, and higher leukocytes, creatinine, lactate dehydrogenase, C reactive protein, procalcitonin, and ferritin) were associated with COVID-19 severity. No HIV or antiretroviral-related factors were associated with COVID-19 diagnosis or severity. Standardized incidence rate ratios of confirmed or confirmed/probable COVID-19 in PLWH were 38% (95% confidence interval 27-52%, P < 0.0001) and 33% (95% confidence interval 21-50%, P < 0.0001), respectively relative to the general population.

Conclusion: PLWH with COVID-19 did not differ from the rest of the HIV cohort. Clinical presentation, severity rate, and mortality were not dependent on any HIV-related or antiretroviral-related factor. COVID-19 standardized incidence rate was lower in PLWH than in the general population. These findings should be confirmed in larger multicenter cohort studies.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / mortality*
  • Coronavirus Infections / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / mortality*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spain / epidemiology


  • Anti-HIV Agents