COVID-19 Testing, Characteristics, and Outcomes Among People Living With HIV in an Integrated Health System

Jennifer J. Chang, MD; Katia Bruxvoort, PhD; Lie H. Chen, DrPH; Bobak Akhavan, MD; Janelle Rodriguez, MD; Rulin C. Hechter, PhD


J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2021;88(1):1-5. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: Understanding the attributes of COVID-19 clinical severity among people living with HIV (PLWH) compared with those in HIV-uninfected patients is critical for risk stratification and treatment strategies.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study at Kaiser Permanente Southern California among PLWH aged 18 years or older. We compared the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing, COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19 hospitalization among PLWH and HIV-uninfected adults. A chart review was conducted for PLWH with COVID-19 to examine viral suppression of HIV and most recent CD4+ counts in the year before COVID-19 diagnosis, known exposures to COVID-19, and clinical presentation.

Results: Between March 1, 2020, and May 31, 2020, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing, COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19 hospitalization was 551.2, 57.0, and 9.3 per 10,000 PLWH, respectively, compared with 268.4, 34.6, and 5.3 per 10,000 HIV-uninfected individuals, respectively. Among those with COVID-19, the distribution of race/ethnicity, smoking status, and comorbidities was similar in PLWH and HIV-uninfected patients; however, PLWH were mostly men, younger, and less obese than HIV-uninfected individuals. Health care utilization regarding emergency care and hospitalizations in the year before COVID-19-related hospitalization was similar between the groups. Overall, HIV was virologically suppressed in >95% of PLWH with COVID-19, and HIV viral load and CD4+ status did not differ between hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients.

Conclusions: In this population of patients with well-controlled HIV infection, the incidence of testing, diagnosis, and hospitalization for COVID-19 was higher in PLWH than that in HIV-uninfected patients.