University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

COVID-19 Infection Outcomes and Testing Outreach Efforts Among People Living With HIV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Trevor Birkey, MD; Joanna Woodbury, APSW; Sol Del Mar Aldrete, MD

WMJ. 2023;122(5):325-330

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Introduction: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence and severity of COVID-19 co-infection in people living with HIV (PLWH) has been an area of investigative research. Clinic databases of PLWH provide opportunities to investigate outcomes of COVID-19 co-infection and efficacy of outreach efforts, which are integral to patient care during health crises.

Methods: All PLWH over 18 years of age who receive care at the Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Adult Infectious Disease Clinic and who had a COVID-19 test performed during May 2020 through March 2021 were included for analysis. All patients received an individualized phone call with COVID-19 testing education and information. Automated data collection and manual chart review were used to acquire information on demographics, outreach efforts, COVID-19 testing results, and COVID-19 clinical course.

Results: Four hundred sixty-two COVID-19 tests completed on 793 PLWH were included, with 40 (8.7%) positive tests and 422 (91.3%) negative tests on a predominantly young, male, and virally suppressed cohort. Most patients had mild to moderate COVID-19 infection (20/27, 74.07%), with 1 patient requiring hospitalization and zero deaths. Three hundred fourteen (39.59%) patients accepted outreach for COVID-19 testing; 171 were tested in our health system, with 72 of those tests occurring within 2 weeks. Outreach efforts demonstrated a statistically significant increase in COVID-19 testing (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: In this largely young, male, virally suppressed cohort of PLWH, most COVID-19 co-infections were associated with mild to moderate disease severity, with 1 hospitalization and zero deaths. Individualized patient outreach efforts were associated with a significant increase in COVID-19 testing, most of which occurred after a single phone call. This outreach process could have utility in other public health arenas, though may be limited by larger patient populations.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Infectious Disease, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Birkey, Woodbury, Aldrete).
Corresponding Author: Trevor Birkey, MD, 8701 W Watertown Plank Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53226, phone 414.405.7633; email; ORCID ID 0000-0003-1468-5744
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank Emily Matsen from the Medical College of Wisconsin Department of Biostatistics for her assistance in data analysis. They also wish to thank the members of the Froedtert infectious disease clinic who were directly involved in completing and documenting outreach events.
Funding/Support: Ryan White AIDS Program Part B COVID-19 Response funding (award number X7C36900) was utilized for patient outreach efforts. The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, or publication of this article.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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