Coronavirus and HIV

FAQs and Tips:

1. Is COVID-19 worse in people with HIV?

As of the moment, there is no clear evidence that an individual living with HIV is at a higher risk of being infected with the coronavirus. Current pieces of evidence show that people living with HIV are less of a risk factor for severe cases of COVID-19 than other health conditions such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure

2. Are people with HIV will be more at risk of getting ill?

People with HIV are immunocompromised that needs to be extra cautious to avoid infection from the coronavirus. These may also include people with a;

  • High viral load
  • Low CD4 count
  • Recent opportunistic infection

This is because your immune system might not be prepared to deal with the virus. We also know that people living with HIV are more vulnerable to respiratory infections if their HIV is not well managed. For this reason, it’s very important to be taking your antiretroviral treatment as prescribed. Older people with HIV and those with the underlying condition must also be vigilant.

3. How Can Someone With HIV Prevent Themselves From COVID-19?

The advice for them is just the same as everyone else. These include:

  • Frequently washing of your hands for at least 30 seconds
  • When you do not have access to water and soap, you can use hand sanitizer which is an alcohol-based
  • Avoid people who are feeling unwell
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Using a clean tissue, cover your nose and mouth the moment you sneeze or cough. Throw it away after and wash your hands. You can use the inside of your elbow to cover your nose and mouth if do not have tissue.

4. What Do If You Feel Unwell While Having HIV?

If you feel unwell and having a persistent dry cough, high temperature, and loss or change in taste or smell, stay at home and call your local public health authorities. They will tell you what you are going to do. Make sure to avoid making close contact with others during this time. Most cases of COVID-19 are mild and getting well after 7 days from when symptoms started.

Tips On COVID-19 For People Living With HIV

All individuals with HIV must take the needed precautions to protect themselves from coronavirus. Make also sure that you are following well with your antiretroviral treatment. Your healthcare provider must tell you if they choose to adjust the way they provide services during this pandemic. Meanwhile:

  • Make sure you are eating well, looking after your mental health, and exercising as best you can
  • Be sure you know how to get in touch with your healthcare facility and if you feel unwell and need to stay at home, you have a plan
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up to date
  • Have enough antiretroviral treatment for at least 30 days

As of this moment, governments are still asking people to avoid others and to stay inside the house if ever possible to help stop the spread of the virus. This might be particularly hard for some people. Also, keeping in touch with people remotely could help you stay socially connected and mentally healthy.