Man Tests Positive for COVID, Monkeypox and HIV After Spain Trip

A man from Italy has tested positive for COVID-19, monkeypox, and HIV all at the same time after returning from a short trip in Spain, according to researchers from the University of Catania in Italy.

The scientists stated in the Journal of Infection that the 36-year-old man, who has not been identified, developed fever, a sore throat, fatigue, and headache as a result of the co-infection.

There are 632.4 million people living with the three viruses individually.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) said that there have been over 594 million confirmed COVID cases worldwide as of Wednesday.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed around 44,503 monkeypox cases globally as of Wednesday.
  • WHO reported in July that 38.4 million people were living with HIV across the world in 2021.

The Journal of Infection report pointed out the continuing dominance of COVID-19 and monkeypox in the world as they published details about the man's co-infection.

Man Tests Positive For COVID, Monkeypox, HIV
Pictured above, licensed Vocational Nurse Adrian Gutierrez prepares a dose of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine at an L.A. County vaccination site in East Los Angeles on August 10 in Los Angeles, California. A man in Italy has tested positive for COVID-19, monkeypox, and HIV all at the same time after returning from a short trip in Spain, according to researchers from the University of Catania in Italy. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Italian man reportedly spent five days in Spain in June and developed the symptoms nine days after returning from his trip.

As for COVID, the patient received two doses of the COVID vaccine and had already contracted the virus in January, but he tested positive for COVID-19 on July 2 and began developing a rash on his left arm on the same day.

The next day, small, painful vesicles that surrounded a rash appeared on the patient's torso, lower limbs, face and glutes. The vesicles continued to spread on July 5 and developed into pustules, which prompted him to go to the emergency department at the University Hospital in Catania where he was transferred to the Infectious Diseases Unit.

At the hospital, the patient tested positive for monkeypox after reporting that he had "condomless intercourse with men during his stay in Spain." Multiple STI tests also came back positive for HIV, in which the scientists said that they "assume that the infection was relatively recent."

"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," researchers said.

The man was discharged from the hospital on July 11 and isolated at home.

The researchers continued: "Clinicians should be aware of the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 and monkeypox virus co-infection, particularly in subjects with a recent history of travel to monkeypox-outbreak areas."

"Our case emphasises that sexual intercourse could be the predominant way of transmission. Therefore, complete STI screening is recommended after a diagnosis of monkeypox," their report read.

However, since this is the only reported case of monkeypox, COVID, and HIV altogether, there isn't enough evidence to support that this "combination may aggravate [a] 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, promoting appropriate diagnostic tests in high-risk subjects, which are essential to containment as there is no widely available treatment or prophylaxis," the researchers added.

Newsweek reached out to some of the report's authors for additional information and comment.