In Practice

High HIV prevalence in an early cohort of hospital admissions with COVID-19 in Cape Town, South Africa

A Parker, C F N Koegelenberg, M S Moolla, E H Louw, A Mowlana, A Nortjé, R Ahmed, N Brittain, U Lalla, B W Allwood, H Prozesky, N Schrueder, J J Taljaard

Abstract


Background. South Africa (SA) has a high prevalence of HIV and tuberculosis. Cape Town was the SA metropole most affected in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early observational data from Africa may provide valuable insight into what can be expected as the pandemic expands across the continent.

Objectives. To describe the prevalence, clinical features, comorbidities and outcome of an early cohort of HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients admitted with COVID-19.

Methods. This was a descriptive observational study of an early cohort of adults with COVID-19 pneumonia admitted from 25 March to 11 May 2020.

Results. Of 116 patients (mean age 48 years, 61% female) admitted, 24 were HIV-positive (21%). The most common symptoms reported were cough (n=88; 73%), shortness of breath (n=78; 69%), fever (n=67; 59%), myalgia (n=29; 25%) and chest pain (n=22; 20%). The most common comorbidities were hypertension (n=46; 41%), diabetes mellitus (n=43; 38%), obesity (n=32; 28%) and HIV (n=24; 21%). Mortality was associated with older age (mean (standard deviation) 55 (12) years v. 46 (14) years; p<0.01); the presence of hypertension or hypertension along with diabetes and/or obesity; lower partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen ratio; and higher urea level, white cell count, neutrophil count, and C-reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase and ferritin levels, and high neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio. The overall survival rate for all hospital admissions was 86/116 (73%). In this early cohort, survival was similar in patients with HIV (n=18; 75%) compared with those without HIV (n=67; 75%) (p=1). Of the 74 patients admitted to the wards, 63 (85%) survived, whereas 22 of 42 (52%) admitted to the intensive care unit survived.

Conclusions. Patients with HIV infection represented a large proportion of all COVID-19 admissions. The presentation and outcome of patients with HIV did not differ significantly from those of patients without HIV.


Authors' affiliations

A Parker, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa; Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

C F N Koegelenberg, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

M S Moolla, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

E H Louw, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A Mowlana, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

A Nortjé, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

R Ahmed, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

N Brittain, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

U Lalla, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

B W Allwood, Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

H Prozesky, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

N Schrueder, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

J J Taljaard, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

COVID-19; HIV; SARS-CoV-2; Non-communicable diseases; Tuberculosis

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 0;0(0):.

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-08-21
Date published: 2020-08-21

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