Question NW3048 to the Minister of Health

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05 January 2021 - NW3048

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Ms MD

Hlengwa, Ms MD to ask the Minister of Health

(1)Whether his department is currently undertaking any research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people living with HIV/Aids; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether his department has collected data on the total number of persons living with HIV/Aids who have died from COVID-19-related illnesses; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


1. Yes currently there are three research studies that have been conducted through collaboration between the Department of Health research sectors and universities.

a) Parker et al (2020) study findings suggested that PLHIV with COVID-19 might have a high probability of admission to hospital, but had similar presentations, comorbidities and outcomes when compared with the HIV-negative study population.

b) Boule et al. (2020) Collaboration between Western Cape Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (2020) study suggested consideration of people with HIV and tuberculosis as being at elevated risk of severe COVID-19. Additionally the study also suggested that HIV was associated with a doubling of COVID-19 mortality risk.

c) Pillay et al (2020) analysis showed that HIV and TB were not the most common comorbidities in individuals who died from COVID-19.

2. It should be noted that HIV is not a notifiable condition, it is not reported in the death certificate. The National Department of Health currently is not collecting any COVID-19 related co-morbidity details. All deaths are reported to the Department of Home Affairs; the cause of death is recorded in the death certificate.


a) Parker A, Koegelenberg C.F.N, Moolla M.S et al. 2020. High HIV prevalence in an early cohort of hospital admissions with COVID-19 in Cape Town, South Africa. S Afr Med J 2020; 110(6):463-465.

b) Boule A, Davies M, Hussey, H et al. 2020. Western Cape Department of Health & NICD. 2020. HIV and risk of COVID-19 death: a population cohort study from the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Clinical infectious diseases, ciaa198. Published 29 August 2020.

c) Pillay-van Wyk,V, Bradshaw D, Groenewald P. 2020. COVID-19 deaths in South Africa: 99 days since South Africa’s first death. S Afr Med J 2020; 110(11):1093-1099.


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