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HIV Patients At Higher Risk Of Surviving COVID-19—WHO

Ololade Omosan-Agie

A new Report by the World Health Organization has confirmed that people living with HIV have low chances of surviving COVID-19.

It said that being infected with HIV is a significant risk factor for critical cases of COVID-19, as statistics have shown that many people that were hospitalized with both viruses eventually died.

The Report published on the Organization’s website, was based on clinical surveillance data from 37 countries regarding the risk of poor COVID-19 outcomes in People Living With HIV admitted in hospitals for COVID-19.

According to the Report, the risk of developing severe or fatal COVID-19 was 30 per cent greater in people living with HIV, compared to people without HIV infection.

It also showed that underlying conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are common among people living with HIV.

“Among male people living HIV over the age of 65 years, diabetes and hypertension were associated with an increased risk of more severe and fatal COVID-19. These conditions are known to put people at increased risk of severe disease and death.

“This highlights the need for people living with HIV to stay as healthy as possible, regularly access and take their ARV medications and prevent and manage underlying conditions.

“This also means that people living with HIV – independent of their immune status – should be prioritized for vaccination in most settings,” it stated.

Meg Doherty, Director of WHO’s Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes in his comment said that the report confirms that HIV is a risk for poor outcomes from COVID-19.

“HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 34.7 million lives so far. To reach the new proposed global targets set by UNAIDS, countries need to redouble efforts to avoid increasing HIV infections.

“HIV service disruptions during COVID-19, has slowed down the public health response to HIV,” he said.

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