HIV is low on the list of co-morbidities among coronavirus patients in New York

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In a large case series of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in New York, relatively few had HIV (0.8%). As the background prevalence of HIV in New York City is around 1.3%, the data appear to confirm that HIV is not in itself a risk factor for greater vulnerability to the new coronavirus.

The most common co-morbidities were high blood pressure (57%), obesity (42%), and diabetes (34%).



The presence of one or more additional health conditions at the same time as a primary condition (such as HIV).




Affecting the lungs.



A group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood sugar (glucose). Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body fails to produce insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin normally (insulin resistance). Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, unusual thirst and extreme hunger. Some antiretroviral drugs may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. It is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from tobacco smoking (active or passive).

Reported in JAMA today, the data come from 5700 sequentially hospitalised patients at the hospitals of Northwell Health, the largest academic medical centre in New York, with hospitals in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County (the county to the north of the Bronx). The authors say this is the largest case series to be published on coronavirus patients in the US. In contrast to several case series from China, data on HIV are included.

Just under a third of US coronavirus cases are in the state of New York.

The median age of the hospitalised patients was 63 years, with half being aged between 52 and 75, and 60% were male. In terms of race, 40% were white, 23% African American, 29% mixed race and 9% Asian.

Almost all patients had a co-morbidity and 88% had two or more. As well as those mentioned above, they included coronary artery disease (11.0%), asthma (9.0%), congestive heart failure (6.9%), cancer (6.0%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (5.4%), chronic kidney disease (5.0%), and end-stage kidney disease (3.5%).

A total of 43 people (0.8%) had HIV, eight people (0.1%) had hepatitis B and three people (0.1%) hepatitis C.


Richardson S et al. Presenting Characteristics, Comorbidities, and Outcomes Among 5700 Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19 in the New York City Area. JAMA, online ahead of print, 22 April 2020 (open access).