Estimating the global impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on people living with HIV

John Thornhill, Chloe Orkin, Muge Cevik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review



The COVID-19 pandemic and public health response have directly and indirectly affected broader health outcomes, especially for those with existing chronic conditions, including HIV. We examine our current understanding of the global impact of COVID-19 on people with HIV (PWH).


The interaction between COVID-19 and HIV is complex, making it challenging to estimate its true impact on PWH. Evidence to date does not suggest that HIV confers a higher risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2. However, once acquired, HIV increases the risk of severe COVID-19 and mortality, particularly in immunosuppressed viraemic individuals and in the context of traditional COVID-19 risk factors, including disparities in social determinants of health. In addition, COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective in the context of HIV infection with additional doses needed. The consequences of disruption of access to essential prevention and treatment services because of the pandemic are becoming evident and will likely adversely affect outcomes, risking decades of progress.


Given the increased mortality risk and reduced vaccine effectiveness seen in PWH, specific prevention and support measures are needed, including prioritization of vaccination and boosters, funding to mitigate the impact of pandemic and enabling integrated healthcare delivery during pandemics will be critical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-25
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • Humans
  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • HIV Infections/complications
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Pandemics/prevention & control


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