LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y. – If you were a public health researcher looking to study the impact of HIV status on Covid-19 outcomes, you might start with the reasonable assumption that those who are HIV-positive would require more intensive care and would experience higher death rates from Covid-19 than those in a control group.
You might be surprised to learn that early in the pandemic, that was not necessarily the case.
Previous studies have found that people living with diagnosed HIV were more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19. IPRO worked closely with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to further determine whether these patients are at higher risk than individuals admitted with COVID-19 who do not have HIV.
Interestingly, the study found no significant difference in in-hospital deaths and a lower risk of receiving ventilator support. However, as documented in many studies, those with HIV were significantly more likely to have chronic conditions associated with severe COVID-19. These conditions include chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, cardiovascular disease and renal conditions.
“The patients we studied tend to be affected greatly by social determinants of health. They often have more problems with housing, substance use and mental health, and they have other contributing factors and comorbidities,” said Wendy Ferguson, Assistant Vice President of State Health Care Assessment at IPRO. “Our expectation was that this group would do much worse. But they actually did a little bit better than the control group.”
In collaboration with NYSDOH, IPRO designed the review instruments, collected most of the data, and performed the initial data analysis. This work was performed as part of IPRO’s AIDS Information Management System (AIMS) contract with the New York State Department of Health. Future inquiries will include examining how patients who are HIV-positive fare with long Covid as compared to a control group.
Regarding this most recent study, Ferguson shared her thoughts on the important take-away message for patients, providers, and public health experts.
“It is essential that for patients who are HIV-positive, antiretroviral medications are initiated and COVID vaccines be delivered especially against the backdrop of the COVID pandemic,” she said.
For additional information, contact IPRO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About IPRO: IPRO is a national, not-for-profit healthcare organization that works with government agencies, providers and consumers to implement innovative programs that bring policy ideas to life. IPRO does this by making creative use of clinical expertise, emerging technology, data solutions, and diverse marketplace experience to make the healthcare system work better. Incorporated in 1983, IPRO is one of the nation’s largest and most experienced healthcare quality improvement organizations.