COVID-19 and HIV
COVID-19 and HIV
The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to test health systems in different ways. The pandemic has created many uncertainties with a lot of misinformation circulating relating to how it is can be transmitted, prevented, and how it is treated. One notable area raising numerous debates relates to the impact of the virus on people living with HIV.
So, how does COVID-19 affect people living with HIV?
Exactly how COVID-19 impacts people living with HIV is not known. The belief that people living with HIV are at a higher risk of infection and increased symptom severity has not been proven. According to reports, people living with HIV and on active antiretroviral treatment ART are not at increased risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.
However, those living with HIV and not on ART treatment are likely to be at higher risk of infection and developing symptoms. Their immune systems may be compromised and may not be prepared to deal with the virus. Such people are also at risk of contracting opportunistic illnesses such as tuberculosis, which may further interfere with their immune systems. Therefore, all people living with HIV are advised to adhere to antiretroviral medications as prescribed by their doctors.
People who are newly diagnosed with HIV amidst the pandemic are also advised to begin their ART medications immediately. ART boosts immunity by ensuring viral suppression and immunological recovery in case of infection with COVID-19.
Older people above 60 years living with HIV and with underlying chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension, and chronic respiratory disease are considered to be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe complications. Such people are strongly advised to continue taking their medications and to observe the COVID-19 preventive measures recommended for the general public, which includes social distancing and regular sanitization. top dissertation writing services
Can HIV medication be used to treat COVID-19?
There is no evidence to support the misconception that HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and antiretrovirals help to prevent and treat COVID-19. Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to HIV during the outbreak should be put on PrEP immediately.
Supply of HIV medications during the COVID-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has impacted the health system significantly, disrupting multiple activities. The measure regarding social distancing has affected the access of antiretroviral medications to people living with HIV. Clinicians have been advised to give longer HIV medication prescriptions of between 3-6 months to lower the number of hospital visits and thereby reduce exposure to the coronavirus.