Covid Is Especially Risky for People With H.I.V., Large Study Finds

An H.I.V. infection increases the odds of dying from Covid-19 by at least 30 percent, researchers said.

By Apoorva Mandavilli

People living with H.I.V. are more likely to become severely ill with Covid-19 and more likely to die if hospitalized than others infected with the coronavirus, according to a large new study. Nearly half of H.I.V.-infected men older than 65 who are hospitalized for Covid-19 may die, the study found.

The results, released ahead of an AIDS conference in Berlin, suggest that people with H.I.V. should be first in line for vaccines, along with older adults and others with weak immune systems, scientists said.

The data is especially pressing because many countries with high numbers of people with H.I.V. are battling surges of the coronavirus, fueled by the contagious Delta variant and a dearth of vaccines. About 95 percent of the people with H.I.V. included in the analysis were from sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to two-thirds of H.I.V. cases worldwide.

“The strength of this analysis is that we report data from the continent where the H.I.V. burden actually is occurring,” said Dr. Silvia Bertagnolio, an H.I.V. researcher at the World Health Organization who led the study.

Dr. Bertagnolio and her colleagues analyzed anonymized clinical data for 268,412 people hospitalized with Covid-19 that was reported to the W.H.O. from health facilities and national health registries in 37 countries from January 2020 to April 2021.

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