Like certain health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, HIV and AIDS also increases one’s risk of infection with, and mortality from, COVID-19, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. For the study, researchers from Penn State College of Medicine assessed data from 22 previous studies of 21 million participants in North America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. People living with HIV had a 24% higher risk of infection with SARSCoV-2 and a 78% higher risk of COVID-related death than people without HIV. “Previous studies were inconclusive on whether or not HIV is a risk factor for susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and poor outcomes in populations with COVID-19,” said a study coauthor in a news release. “This is because a vast majority of people living with HIV/AIDS are on ART, some of which have been used experimentally to treat COVID-19.” Among those who were HIVpositive, the most common pre-existing health conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection were high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic kidney disease. The beneficial effects of antiviral drugs (such as protease inhibitors) in reducing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and death from COVID-19 in people living with HIV/AIDS remain inconclusive, the study authors noted.
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