Marjeta Dervishi1, Roland Bani1,Redona Dudushi1, Shpetim Qyra1 , Esmeralda Meta2, Silva Bino1
1Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania.
2University Hospital Center “Mother Theresa”, Tirana, Albania.
Aim: Albania continues to have a low HIV-prevalence epidemic. At the end of December 2020, a total of 1403 HIV cases had been reported, however, the number of reported new HIV cases has been increasing in recent years. SARS-CoV-2 infection among People Living with HIV (PLWH) is not well-described. However, it remains unclear whether PLWH are at an increased risk of COVID‐19 and severe disease manifestation, with controversial suggestion that HIV‐infected individuals could be protected from severe COVID‐19 by means of antiretroviral therapy or HIV‐related immunosuppression.
Methods:This study was conducted to study HIV-SARS-2 among PLWH in Albania during the year 2020, in order to provide an overview of this co infection. The data have been collected from clinical files of PLWH at outpatient clinic/ MTUH.
Results:Based on the data of clinical files, the number of PLWH infected with SARS COV-2 was 18. Out of them 61 % were males and 39 % were females. The median age of PLWH was 44.5 yr. old, which is lower than the median age of individuals infected with SARS COV-2. Most of them were living in Tirana (14 cases or 77.8%) and the rest in Shkoder, Korce, Lushnje and Fier (respectively 1 case for each district). 4 cases were reported as HIV positive in 2020 and the rest in the previous years (from 2003 to 2018). Most of them have had mild symptoms and signs, 9 patients were on ARVs and only one case (reported in 2020 at late diagnosis of AIDS) died from this co-infection.
Conclusions: It is impossible to draw conclusions from the extremely small number of SARS-CoV-2-HIV-coinfected patients reported in Albania, in 2020. A sero-surveillance should be conducted among PLWH to better understand this coinfection.
Keywords: coinfection, COVID-19, HIV, SARS COV-2.