Epidemiological, Virological and Serological Features of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Cases in People Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Wuhan: A Population-based Cohort Study

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Oct 5;73(7):e2086-e2094. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1186.


Background: We aimed to describe the epidemiological, virological, and serological features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV; PLWH).

Methods: This population-based cohort study identified all COVID-19 cases among all PLWH in Wuhan, China, by 16 April 2020. The epidemiological, virological, and serological features were analyzed based on the demographic data, temporal profile of nucleic acid test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the disease, and SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobin (Ig) M and G after recovery.

Results: From 1 January to 16 April 2020, 35 of 6001 PLWH experienced COVID-19, with a cumulative incidence of COVID-19 of 0.58% (95% confidence interval [CI], .42-.81%). Among the COVID-19 cases, 15 (42.86) had severe illness, with 2 deaths. The incidence, case-severity, and case-fatality rates of COVID-19 in PLWH were comparable to those in the entire population in Wuhan. There were 197 PLWH who had discontinued combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), 4 of whom experienced COVID-19. Risk factors for COVID-19 were age ≥50 years old and cART discontinuation. The median duration of SARS-CoV-2 viral shedding among confirmed COVID-19 cases in PLWH was 30 days (interquartile range, 20-46). Cases with high HIV viral loads (≥20 copies/mL) had lower IgM and IgG levels than those with low HIV viral loads (<20 copies/ml; median signal value divided by the cutoff value [S/CO] for IgM, 0.03 vs 0.11, respectively [P < .001]; median S/CO for IgG, 10.16 vs 17.04, respectively [P = .069]).

Conclusions: Efforts are needed to maintain the persistent supply of antiretroviral treatment to elderly PLWH aged 50 years or above during the COVID-19 epidemic. The coinfection of HIV and SARS-CoV-2 might change the progression and prognosis of COVID-19 patients in PLWH.

Keywords: COVID-19; HIV; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Cohort Studies
  • HIV
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • SARS-CoV-2