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Original Article Assessing COVID-19 Vulnerability among HIV-Positive Men Who Have Sex with Men in Korea: The Role of Vaccination and Sexual Behaviors
Minsoo Jung1corresp_iconorcid

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.24.196 [Accepted]
Published online: June 24, 2024
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Dongduk Women's University, Seoul, Korea
Corresponding author:  Minsoo Jung,
Email: mj748@dongduk.ac.kr
Received: 11 April 2024   • Revised: 12 June 2024   • Accepted: 12 June 2024

Objectives
Comorbidities increase susceptibility to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections, but limited information has been published regarding HIV and COVID-19 co-infections. This study explored the relationships among socioeconomic characteristics, sexual behaviors, and COVID-19 infection rates among Korean men who have sex with men (MSMs) who are also living with HIV.
Methods
Data were collected through a web survey aimed at members of the largest gay portal site in Korea, supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (n=1,005). The primary independent variables included COVID-19-related vaccinations and sexual behaviors. The dependent variable was the incidence of COVID-19 infection among respondents during the pandemic. For statistical analysis, hierarchical multiple logistic regression was performed, controlling for potential confounding variables.
Results
Model I indicated that older MSM were less likely to contract COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.975; 95% CI, 0.962-0.989). Model II demonstrated that HIV-positive MSM were nearly twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 compared to their HIV-negative counterparts (aOR, 1.974; 95% CI, 1.144-3.408). Furthermore, even after accounting for COVID-19 vaccination status in model III, HIV-positive MSM continued to show a higher risk of infection (aOR, 1.934; 95% CI, 1.118-3.346).
Conclusions
The findings of this study indicate that HIV-positive MSM are at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19, even when their vaccination status is considered. Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the prevention of COVID-19 infections in HIV-positive individuals by administering appropriate antiretroviral therapy and ensuring adherence to public health guidelines.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health