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Monkeypox, COVID, and HIV All at Once: It Happened to This Man

Photo by Andrew Neel for Pexels

Doctors are observing a person diagnosed with all three viruses within a very short window of time.

An Italian man has become the first known person to be diagnosed with COVID-19, monkeypox, and HIV at the same time.

The Independent reports that the 36-year-old tested positive for COVID on July 2, nine days after his return from vacation. The patient confirmed that while in Spain he participated in unprotected sex.

The day after experiencing typical coronavirus symptoms, the man developed a rash across his face, chest, legs, and buttocks accompanied by uncomfortable blisters. When the sores grew in size, he went to a Palmero hospital where he tested positive for MPV.

Scientists from the University of Catania conducted a study into the man’s symptoms, writing in their report: “This case highlights how monkeypox and Covid-19 symptoms may overlap, and corroborates how in case of co-infection, anamnestic collection and sexual habits are crucial to perform the correct diagnosis.”

While hospitalized, the patient also underwent testing for multiple STIs, which returned a positive HIV diagnosis. He had previously tested negative a year prior in September. Doctors concluded that “given his preserved CD4 count, we could assume that the infection was relatively recent.”

They continued: “As this is the only reported case of monkeypox virus, SARS-CoV-2 and HIV co-infection, there is still not enough evidence supporting that this combination may aggravate the patient's condition. Given the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and the daily increase of monkeypox cases, healthcare systems must be aware of this eventuality.”

The hospital released the man to quarantine in his home on July 11, after he recovered from both COVID and MPV. The sores on the patient’s skin had mostly healed by that time, but researchers noted that subsequent tests for MPV still came back positive over 20 days later. 

“These individuals may still be contagious for several days after clinical remission,” they warned. “Consequently, physicians should encourage appropriate precautions.”

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Ryan Adamczeski