COVID-19 Among People Living with HIV in Lebanon


North Florida


North Florida Regional Medical Center

Document Type


Publication Date



Humans, HIV Infections, Lebanon, Cross-Sectional Studies, COVID-19, Surveys and Questionnaires


Immune System Diseases | Internal Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences | Virus Diseases


BACKGROUND: There are conflicting reports of the interaction between COVID-19 and HIV infection among coinfected individuals, and there is a particular dearth of evidence among populations in the Middle East.

AIM: To determine if living with HIV and use of antiretroviral therapy increases susceptibility to, and severity of, COVID-19.

METHODS: This cross-sectional study was based on telephone survey of COVID-19 symptoms duration and clinical course among 200 people living with HIV (PLWHs) and a review of medical records in Beirut, Lebanon, during Spring 2021. Data were collected from consenting patients using standardized forms. The laboratory and medical characteristics of PLWHs with and without COVID-19 were compared and the outcomes of COVID-19 were described. A binary logistic regression model for contracting COVID-19 was constructed based on clinically relevant covariates consistently associated with COVID-19. Significance level was set at 0.05 and statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 27.0. The Lebanese American University Institutional Review Board approved the study protocol.

RESULTS: Fifty-two of 200 PLWHs contracted COVID-19 but only 4 progressed to severe COVID-19. No significant differences were found with respect to gender, time since HIV diagnosis, most recent CD4 count, viral load, substance use, comorbidities, or use of antiretroviral therapy. Older PLWHs were at lower risk of contracting COVID-19; COVID-19 infection was significantly associated with younger age.

CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 infection was associated with younger age among PLWHs in Lebanon, possibly due to behavioural and socioeconomic factors.

Publisher or Conference

East Mediterranean Health Journal