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HIV and COVID-19

If I am HIV positive, is there a higher likelihood of serious COVID-19 illness?

While we are still learning more about COVID-19, people living with HIV and on effective treatment are not expected to be at a higher likelihood of serious COVID-19 illness.  People who are not on HIV treatment, or have a lower CD4 count, may be at higher risk of serious COVID-19 illness. Some other medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease are associated with more serious COVID-19 illness.

How do I stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Continue the regular monitoring and treatments recommended by your doctor or nurse practitioner  (NP).  While you may not be able to see your doctor or NP in person, many clinics offer phone and virtual visits so you can continue your medical care.

Follow other routine precautions to stay healthy and reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19 .  See, BCCDC COVID-19 Prevention & Risks

Can I get additional HIV medications during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, if you get your HIV medications through the BC Centre for Excellence (BCCfE) pharmacy and are stable on this medication, you can get a larger supply during this time.  For more information, go to BCCfE and COVID-19.

HIV Testing:

I think I may have been exposed, what should I do?

The HIM HIV risk calculator can help you figure out if the exposure was high or low risk. If you’ve had a high risk exposure to HIV in the past 3 days, you might need Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), go to your nearest emergency department or contact one of the following consultation sites.

Symptoms of a new HIV infection, such as fever and sore throat, can be very similar to symptoms of COVID-19.  If you think you’ve been recently exposed to HIV, it’s important to tell your doctor or nurse so they can give you the best care and testing.  

Can I still get tested for HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, most sexual health clinics are still open, but many have reduced hours or services.  We suggest using the clinic finder on SmartSexResource or contacting your local clinic for updates on hours and services before visiting.  If you think you may have an increased chance of getting HIV and want to get started on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP), contact your doctor, NP, or local sexual health clinic. 

Other HIV resources: 

World Health Organization: Q&A on COVID-19, HIV and antiretrovirals




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