The British HIV Association (BHIVA) has issued responses to common questions regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and people with HIV, dated 19 March 2020. The main points are as follows:
- There is currently no evidence that people living with controlled HIV are at a greater risk of catching COVID-19, or of serious illness from it, than others of the same age and general health.
- People on HIV treatment with a ‘good CD4’ and undetectable viral load are not usually considered to have a ‘weakened immune system’ in terms of the categories specified in the Public Health England (PHE) guidance of 16 March.
- The BHIVA currently recommends that people with HIV should follow PHE’s ‘social distancing’ advice of 16 March, which does not necessarily mean self-isolation.
- It is ‘sensible’ to assume people with a detectable viral load and those with a CD4 count
- PrEP drugs are not active against coronavirus, and there is ‘no strong evidence’ that being on antiretroviral treatment for HIV will prevent infection with COVID-19; people should not increase their dose.
- There are no supply problems with HIV medications and no suggestion that there will be shortages.
The full briefing is available online. The BHIVA say it aims to provide specific advice for people living with HIV based on viral load and CD4 count as the situation becomes clearer, and as government guidance is updated with specific reference to HIV.