HIV and COVID-19
Updated August 20, 2021 9:23am ET
Find out what the COVID-19 pandemic means for people living with HIV.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a new kind of coronavirus.
And because it’s new, we’re still learning about how COVID-19 affects people with HIV. Based on limited data, researchers believe that people with HIV and who are on ART have the same risk for COVID-19 as people who don’t have HIV. However, people with HIV who are not on ART and have an unsuppressed viral load or low CD4 cell count may be at higher risk of getting sick if they get COVID-19.
Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 reduces your chance of getting very sick with COVID-19 or needing to be hospitalized. If you haven’t had your shot, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the FDA can be administered to people with HIV. However, the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the FDA, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, may be less effective in people with untreated or advanced HIV or other conditions that severely weaken the immune system, such as organ transplantation, treatment for cancer, or conditions that require immunosuppressive medications. As of August 19, 2021, the CDC recommends that immunocompromised people who have been fully immunized with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should receive an additional dose at least 28 days after receiving their second dose.
Do medicines to treat HIV also treat or prevent COVID-19?
Currently, there is no evidence showing that medications used to treat HIV are effective against COVID-19. Several drugs, including ones used to treat HIV, are being tested to learn about their effects on the new coronavirus. Other studies are examining the effectiveness of different medications to treat COVID-19 in people with HIV.
Keep up to date on your influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations.
Getting vaccinated against the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia is especially important to prevent other respiratory infections while COVID-19 is going around.
Make a plan for virtual HIV care.
If you’re experiencing changes in your health or require care, talk with your doctor about the potential risks to your health of an in-person visit. In deciding whether an in-person visit is right for you, you and your doctor should consider your current health status, your viral load, and the level of COVID-19 transmission in your community.