As the number of cases of coronavirus increase many in the HIV community are concerned about the specific impact COVID 19 could have on people living with HIV.
There are a number of excellent sources of information available online but you should be cautious and ensure that any information you read is from a reputable source.
The Body’s article What You Need to Know About the New Coronavirus and HIV features a short video by David Malebranch M.D. in which he summarizes what is known about this new virus, the risks it poses toward people living with HIV, and reiterates the basics on how people can protect themselves from it.
“The higher your T-cell count is, the more your virus is suppressed, the stronger your immune system will be—and then you won’t be exposed, not only to something like COVID-19, but to all other viruses like flu virus, and other kinds of parasites and fungal infections.” Malebranche added that if you are living with HIV and not currently on medication, now might be a good time to seek treatment. – The Body “What You Need to Know About the New Coronavirus and HIV”
CDC recommendations for people living with HIV
- Ensure ample medication supply – 30 day supply at all times
- Keep vaccinations up to date
- Establish a plan for clinical care if you become isolated or in case of quarantine – Telemed options/Physician on-line portals
- Maintain social networks but do so remotely
Currently the Texas HIV Medication Program (THMP) is working to ensure that people living with HIV in Texas have access to medications to stay healthy. THMP will be providing early refills and extra medications to people to support people as they prepare for the impact of COVID 19. THMP will also support people who need access to mail-order medications and who are facing challenges completing program eligibility. If anyone has questions or needs assistance they are encouraged to contact their local HIV provider agencies and participating THMP pharmacies. THMP has also created an emergency application to facilitate access to medications. Click here for more information about THMP
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people
Learn more about COVID 19 and stay up to date with the latest information at CDC Coronavirus Site