Background: The COVID-19 pandemic determines the functioning of the healthcare system. The epidemic of HIV infection depends heavily on the effectiveness of the health system and its ability to test and deliver prevention and treatment. This study aims to determine the consequences of this pandemic on the development of HIV infection testing in the Czech Republic.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study analyzed data for two infectious diseases, HIV (2020 and 2015-2019) and COVID-19 (2020), in the Czech Republic. For the statistical comparison of 2020 with the earlier period, the Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) and Poisson regression methods were used. Monthly HIV and COVID-19 indicators for 2020 were analyzed using correlation analysis.
Results and Discussion: A significant difference was observed only in April (IRR = 0.81; p = 0.046) and July (IRR = 1.27; p = 0.023) between the number of HIV tests performed in each month in 2020 and the control period (average for the same months of the period 2015-2019). Significant differences between the observed periods were further identified for testing reasons. Correlation analysis of the number of tests performed on HIV and COVID-19 after 2020 showed a negative relationship (r = -0.261, p = 0.412).
Conclusion: The study did not confirm statistically significant differences between the number of HIV tests performed in the pandemic year 2020 compared to the previous period, except for two months. The incidence and number of newly diagnosed cases did not differ statistically significantly from previous years (2015-2019).
Keywords: HIV infection, COVID-19 tests, pandemic effects, correlation, poisson regression, antiretroviral medication.