Risk of Severe COVID-19 Disease and the Pandemic's Impact on Service Utilization Among a Longitudinal Cohort of Persons with HIV-Washington, DC

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS and behavior




COVID-19; Comorbidities; HIV; HIV RNA; Utilization


People with HIV (PWH) have a high burden of medical comorbidities, potentially putting them at increased risk for severe COVID-19. Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, HIV care delivery has been restructured and the impact on HIV outcomes is unknown. The objectives of this study were first, to examine the risk of severe COVID-19 among PWH, using a definition incorporating clinical risk factors, and second, to examine the pandemic's impact on HIV care. We used data from the DC Cohort, a large cohort of people receiving HIV care in Washington, DC. We found that a high proportion of participants across all age groups qualified as increased (58%) or high risk (34%) for severe COVID-19. Between 2019 and 2020, encounters increased (17.7%, increasing to 23.5% of active DC Cohort participants had an encounter) while laboratory utilization decreased (14.4%, decreasing to 11.4% of active DC Cohort participants had an HIV RNA test performed). Implications of our work include the importance of protecting vulnerable people with HIV from acquiring COVID-19 and potentially manifesting severe complications through strategies including vaccination. Additionally, acknowledging that HIV service delivery will likely be changed long-term by the pandemic, adaptation is required to ensure continued progress towards 90-90-90 goals.