COVID-19 Outcomes Among Persons Living With or Without Diagnosed HIV Infection in New York State

JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Feb 1;4(2):e2037069. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.37069.


Importance: New York State has been an epicenter for both the US coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and HIV/AIDS epidemics. Persons living with diagnosed HIV may be more prone to COVID-19 infection and severe outcomes, yet few studies have assessed this possibility at a population level.

Objective: To evaluate the association between HIV diagnosis and COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization, and in-hospital death in New York State.

Design, setting, and participants: This cohort study, conducted in New York State, including New York City, between March 1 and June 15, 2020, matched data from HIV surveillance, COVID-19 laboratory-confirmed diagnoses, and hospitalization databases to provide a full population-level comparison of COVID-19 outcomes between persons living with diagnosed HIV and persons living without diagnosed HIV.

Exposures: Diagnosis of HIV infection through December 31, 2019.

Main outcomes and measures: The main outcomes were COVID-19 diagnosis, hospitalization, and in-hospital death. COVID-19 diagnoses, hospitalizations, and in-hospital death rates comparing persons living with diagnosed HIV with persons living without dianosed HIV were computed, with unadjusted rate ratios and indirect standardized rate ratios (sRR), adjusting for sex, age, and region. Adjusted rate ratios (aRRs) for outcomes specific to persons living with diagnosed HIV were assessed by age, sex, region, race/ethnicity, transmission risk, and CD4+ T-cell count-defined HIV disease stage, using Poisson regression models.

Results: A total of 2988 persons living with diagnosed HIV (2109 men [70.6%]; 2409 living in New York City [80.6%]; mean [SD] age, 54.0 [13.3] years) received a diagnosis of COVID-19. Of these persons living with diagnosed HIV, 896 were hospitalized and 207 died in the hospital through June 15, 2020. After standardization, persons living with diagnosed HIV and persons living without diagnosed HIV had similar diagnosis rates (sRR, 0.94 [95% CI, 0.91-0.97]), but persons living with diagnosed HIV were hospitalized more than persons living without diagnosed HIV, per population (sRR, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.29-1.47]) and among those diagnosed (sRR, 1.47 [95% CI, 1.37-1.56]). Elevated mortality among persons living with diagnosed HIV was observed per population (sRR, 1.23 [95% CI, 1.07-1.40]) and among those diagnosed (sRR, 1.30 [95% CI, 1.13-1.48]) but not among those hospitalized (sRR, 0.96 [95% CI, 0.83-1.09]). Among persons living with diagnosed HIV, non-Hispanic Black individuals (aRR, 1.59 [95% CI, 1.40-1.81]) and Hispanic individuals (aRR, 2.08 [95% CI, 1.83-2.37]) were more likely to receive a diagnosis of COVID-19 than White individuals, but they were not more likely to be hospitalized once they received a diagnosis or to die once hospitalized. Hospitalization risk increased with disease progression to HIV stage 2 (aRR, 1.29 [95% CI, 1.11-1.49]) and stage 3 (aRR, 1.69 [95% CI, 1.38-2.07]) relative to stage 1.

Conclusions and relevance: In this cohort study, persons living with diagnosed HIV experienced poorer COVID-related outcomes relative to persons living without diagnosed HIV; Previous HIV diagnosis was associated with higher rates of severe disease requiring hospitalization, and hospitalization risk increased with progression of HIV disease stage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American
  • COVID-19 / complications
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity*
  • Epidemics
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New York / epidemiology
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • White People