People with HIV who have moderate immune suppression appear to be at greater risk of severe COVID-19 “breakthrough” infection after vaccination, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.These findings suggest that this group should be considered for additional vaccine dosages and other risk-reduction measures.
For the study, researchers analyzed data from the electronic health records of people with and without HIV. Of these, 3,649 people had breakthrough COVID-19 infection in the second half of 2021. The researchers found that people with HIV did not have a significantly higher rate of severe COVID-19 breakthrough infection. Among the group with HIV, the researchers found that those who had CD4 counts lower than 350 cells/cubic millimeter of blood, were 59 percent more likely to have severe breakthrough infections compared to people without HIV.
The study was published online October 13 in JAMA Network Open.
Currently, the CDC recommends people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised take additional precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19, including additional doses of vaccine.
“People with HIV and CD4 counts between 200 and 350 cells/mm3 are not included in the current CDC recommendations,” says study senior author Keri Althoff, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School. “Our findings suggest people with HIV who have CD4 counts less than 350 cells/mm3 should be considered moderately or severely immunocompromised by the CDC, and encouraged to take additional precautions to protect themselves from seve …