Consumers with HIV/AIDS more likely to die from COVID-19 ─Study

*Researchers found that people with HIV were nearly 80 percent more likely to die from a Coronavirus infection

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Researchers from Penn State in a fresh study explored the risks associated with consumers with HIV contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to their work, HIV could increase the severity of COVID-19 and also increase the risk of death from the infection.

Dr. Paddy Ssentongo, one of the researchers, said: “Previous studies were inconclusive on whether or not HIV is a risk factor for susceptibility to SARS-Co-V-2 infection and poor outcomes in populations with COVID-19.

“This is because a vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS are on (antiretroviral therapy), some of which have been used experimentally to treat COVID-19.”

In assessing the health risks in the study, the researchers analysed data from nearly two dozen earlier studies that included information from more than 21 million people.

All of the participants had HIV or AIDS, and the researchers evaluated their health outcomes after getting infected with COVID-19.

The team learned that those with HIV were nearly 80 percent more likely to die from COVID-19, and they were nearly 25 percent more likely to contract the virus.

The researchers noted that the large majority of participants involved in the study, more than 95 percent, were taking antiretrovirals for HIV therapy.

It was believed that these drugs could reduce the severity of COVID-19 infections, but these study findings can’t prove either way what role these medications play when HIV interacts with the Coronavirus.

The team explained that having HIV or AIDS can be associated with other pre-existing conditions that increase the severity of COVID-19, including diabetes, COPD, and high blood pressure.

Going forward, they hope their work prompts more people with pre-existing conditions, including HIV and AIDS, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Researcher Vernon Chinchilli stated: “As the pandemic has evolved, we’ve obtained sufficient information to characterise the epidemiology of HIV/SARS-CoV-2 coinfection, which could not be done at the beginning of the pandemic due to scarcity of data.

“Our findings support the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to prioritise persons living with HIV to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”

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