HIV and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Information is rapidly evolving for COVID-19, the illness caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. As of June 2, 2020, total cases in the United States surpassed 1.8 million.1
People living with HIV (PLHIV) may be wondering about their risk for COVID-19. The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have offered interim guidance for PLHIV and healthcare professionals (HCPs) treating PLHIV.
Current data do not indicate that COVID-19 affects PLHIV differently than the general population.2 Individuals aged 60+ and those with comorbidities—including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary disease—have the highest risk for life-threatening illness. However, until more is known about COVID-19, additional caution is warranted for PLHIV, especially those with advanced or poorly managed disease.
HCPs and PLHIV should weigh the risks and benefits of keeping in-person medical visits, considering the extent of local COVID-19 cases and the patient’s HIV healthcare needs.2 Telephone and virtual visits may be put in place for routine and non-urgent care, or even postponed for PLHIV who are virologically suppressed and in stable health. Efforts should be made to help PLHIV maintain an adequate supply of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other concomitant medications. For PLHIV with a planned regimen switch, consider delaying the switch until close monitoring is possible.
If a patient is hospitalized with COVID-19, antiretroviral (ARV) drug substitutions should be avoided.2 If necessary, clinicians can also refer to DHHS guidelines: Appendix C: Antiretroviral Medications that Can Be Switched Temporarily Due to Supply Shortage. For patients who require tube feeding, some ARV medications are available in liquid form. Additionally, some pills may be crushed or split. Consult with an HIV specialist and/or pharmacist to consider the best way to maintain an effective ARV regimen.
Find additional resources for COVID-19 online:
From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Common questions and answers about HIV and COVID-19, including how PLHIV can protect their health
Interim recommendations to reduce healthcare facility risk, isolate symptomatic patients, and protect healthcare personnel
From clinical care and infection control to personal protective equipment and nonpharmaceutical interventions
HCP checklists, print resources, and other helpful guidance on healthcare facility preparedness
From US Department of Health and Human Services
General guidance for treating PLHIV regarding COVID-19
Links to the latest news and updates for COVID-19
From World Health Organization (WHO)
Questions and answers on PLHIV risk, use of ARV drugs, access to HIV services, and more
1. Cases in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html. Published April 15, 2020. Accessed April 30, 2020.
2. Interim guidance for COVID-19 and persons with HIV. AIDSinfo website. https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines/html/8/covid-19-and-persons-with-hiv--interim-guidance-/554/interim-guidance-for-covid-19-and-persons-with-hiv. Published March 20, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2020.
3. How to protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html. Published April 13, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2020.
4. What to know about HIV and COVID-19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https:// www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/hiv.html. Published March 18, 2020. Accessed April 15, 2020.
HVUWCNT190041 June 2020