This is a summary, written by members of the CITF Secretariat, of:

Hammond K, Lee T, Vulesevic B, Singer J, Needham J, Burchell AN, Samji H, Walmsley S, Hull M, Jenabian MA, Routy JP, Margolese S, Mandarino E, Anis AH, Cooper CL, Costiniuk CT. Preventative behaviours and COVID-19 infection in a Canadian cohort of people living with HIV. AIDS Res Ther. 2023 Oct 20;20(1):73. doi:

The results and/or conclusions contained in the research do not necessarily reflect the views of all CITF members.

A CITF-funded study, published in AIDS Research and Therapy, found that people living with HIV (PLWH) in Canada displayed a high level of adherence to COVID-19 preventive behaviours, including masking, physical distancing, limiting social gatherings, limiting contact with at-risk individuals, self-isolating due to symptoms, and self-quarantining after possible exposure. People with known prior COVID-19 infection were more likely to practise self-quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19, whether they were symptomatic or not. This study was led by Dr. Aslam Anis (University of British Columbia).

This study examined the relationships between participant characteristics and behavioural practices (e.g., masking, physical distancing, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting physical greetings) intended to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in a cohort of PLWH.

Key findings:

  • Overall, preventive behaviours were frequently practiced by PLWH: 87% masked in public, 79% kept physical distance, 70% limited social gatherings, 65% limited contact with vulnerable individuals, 33% self-isolated due to symptoms, and 26% self-quarantined after possible exposure.
  • PLWH with known prior COVID-19 were more likely to self-quarantine after another possible exposure to SARS-CoV-2, despite not showing symptoms.
  • PLWH with multiple comorbidities were more likely to endorse physical distancing, but this association was not significant after adjusting for other participant characteristics (e.g., age, sex, race).
  • PLWH working closely with others did not report different preventive behaviours or higher or lower incidences of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • There were no differences in vaccine uptake or preventive behaviours between those infected and not infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the highly contagious Omicron wave in November 2021.

These authors highlight that studying COVID-19 preventive behaviours is essential to guide new policies and to enhance vaccination uptake among PLWH.

This study included PLWH living in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver aged 16 years or older, who had received no more than two COVID-19 immunizations at the time of enrolment. Participants were enrolled between April 2021 and January 2022, at which time they responded to a questionnaire on preventive behaviour practices.