11 OCTOBER 2021

An increasing body of evidence indicates that people living with HIV who acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection are at heightened risk of requiring hospitalization and having poor clinical outcomes.

Data from the United States of America show that people living with HIV who acquired SARS-CoV-2 infection were much more likely to require hospitalization and suffer severe illness than people who were HIV-negative, while studies from England and South Africa have found that the risk of dying from COVID-19 among people with HIV was double that of the general population. Advanced HIV disease and/or the presence of chronic comorbidities—which tend to be common in people living with HIV—appear to be strongly associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes in people living with HIV.

However, access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world remains exceedingly unequal and unjust. At the beginning of October 2021, there were still low levels of access to vaccines in the low-income and lower-middle-income countries that are home to more than half (55%) of people living with HIV globally.