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HIV may not worsen COVID-19 outlook

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HealthDay News
COVID-19 patients with HIV did not have evidence of significant immune suppression or elevated HIV viral levels, according to a study. Photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht/U.S. Air National Guard/UPI
COVID-19 patients with HIV did not have evidence of significant immune suppression or elevated HIV viral levels, according to a study. Photo by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht/U.S. Air National Guard/UPI | License Photo

People with HIV who were hospitalized with COVID-19 didn't have worse results than COVID-19 patients without HIV, new research shows.

"Throughout the pandemic, we've suspected that immunocompromised patients, such as those with HIV, could be at a higher risk for infection and suffer more severe outcomes, but without data on how COVID-19 affects patients with HIV specifically, clinical guidance for managing and advising these patients has been lacking," said study author Dr. Keith Sigel. He's a member of the Mount Sinai COVID Informatics Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.

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People with a weakened immune system often have worse outcomes when they develop serious infections. HIV is one of the most common causes of immunodeficiency in the world and affects more than 1 million people in the United States.

For the study, researchers compared COVID-19 patients with and without HIV at five hospitals in the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. The patients were assessed at the peak of the pandemic in the city during March and April.

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Death rates and poor outcomes -- such as respiratory failure or multiorgan dysfunction -- were high among patients with HIV, but no worse than among those without HIV, the researchers found.

The patients with HIV did not have evidence of significant immune suppression or elevated HIV viral levels, according to the study published June 28 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

This study adds to existing limited evidence that HIV may not be associated with more severe COVID-19 symptoms, the researchers said.

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"This study sets the foundation for future studies in larger cohorts so we can appropriately address treating COVID-19 in patients with HIV," Sigel said in a Mount Sinai news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on HIV and COVID-19.

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