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COVID-19 and HIV: What You Need To Know

COVID-19 and HIV: What You Need To Know

Coronavirus is a huge family of viruses that causes illness in humans or animals. COVID-19 is the known name of this disease. Not everyone who is infected with COVID-19 will be ill with it and people might be sick without showing any symptoms, with a mild condition or being ill severely. 

How Does Coronavirus Disease Affect People Living With HIV?

There is no full information about this yet. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that there is an increased risk of infection and increased severity for people living with HIV. Nevertheless, people living with HIV who are not virally suppressed or not on treatment may have an immune system that is compromised. Wherein, it makes them vulnerable to infections and more severe diseases. It is thought that people living with HIV who do not have low CD4 count and who have achieved viral suppression will be affected by the COVID-19. It will be similar to the way that a person not living with HIV would be. It may be based on other coronavirus-cased disease outbreak where only a few cases of mild cased among people living with HIV were reported.

Advice For People Living With HIV Related To COVID-19

People with HIV are advised to take the same precautionary measures as the general population. Things people can do to protect themselves and others from COVID-19;

  • Hand washing for at least 20 seconds using water and soap
  • Covering the nose and mouth using your sleeve, tissues, or by flexing your elbow when you sneeze or cough.
  • Avoiding touching your mouth, nose, or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Being far for 1-2 meters from other people
  • Continue taking your HIV treatment as prescribed to keep your immune system as strong as possible
  • People with HIV who are on treatment must make sure that they have a 30-day supply of their medication.
  • People living with HIV who know their status and are not yet on antiretroviral treatment must start treatment without delay. If you need access to health care services, it is recommended to follow guidelines. If possible, call your healthcare provider before arriving at a health facility. The measure must be taken to make sure an appropriate infection control and you need to follow the physical distancing protocol.

How Will COVID-19 Affect The HIV Response?

Some healthcare workers must still be available to help people living with HIV. Health services must remain to be available while researchers and healthcare workers are being diverted to work on COVID-19. To lessen the impact of COVID-19, services must be offered through multi-month refills, telemedicine, and other innovative tools implemented more broadly including HIV treatments.

Can HIV Medication Be Used To Treat COVID-19?

There is no proven vaccine or antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. Currently, there is no sufficient data to assess that antiretroviral is effective for the treatment of COVID-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) is coordinating efforts to develop new medicines and vaccines to prevent and treat COVID-19.