HIV patients likely to die quicker from covid-19 – SA report

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Using data from over 3 million adults in the Western Cape, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) found that people with HIV had a modestly increased risk of Covid-19 deaths compared with HIV-negative patients, irrespective of viral suppression.

The NICD recently undertook a study to establish if people living with HIV were at increased risk of Covid-19 death.

Authors Mary-Ann Davies and Andrew Boulle said in the analysis of nearly 3.5 million adults that there were nearly 13 000 Covid-19 cases and 435 deaths.

“We used linked data from patients attending public sector health facilities in the Western Cape to identify factors associated with Covid-19 death, including HIV.

“We found approximately twice the risk of Covid-19 death in people with HIV irrespective of viral suppression or ART use.

“This increased risk is modest in comparison to the increased risk of Covid-19 death associated with other risk factors, such as older age or diabetes.

“While this risk may be overestimated if there is residual confounding due to socio-economic status or comorbidities not routinely recorded in public sector patients, our results suggest that patients with HIV may be at moderately elevated risk of severe Covid-19, irrespective of viral suppression.”

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They said a small proportion, less than 10%, of all Covid-19 deaths in the Western Cape were attributable to HIV.

“Older age, male sex, diabetes mellitus, current and previous tuberculosis, chronic kidney disease, and other comorbidities were also associated with increased Covid-19 mortality.”

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