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Coronavirus: impact on people living with HIV

Strict adherence to the preventive measures is recommended

03-03-20

Image 1/1 : Red ribbon - symbol of awareness and support for those living with HIV

We are yet to discover the impact of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on the course of an HIV infection and vice versa. We also do not yet know whether the coronavirus infection is more severe in HIV patients.

We can only derive information from our experience with other viral infections, such as the seasonal flu caused by the influenza virus. People with a stable HIV infection (i.e. normal CD4 content and undetectable viral load) do not seem to be more susceptible to infections with the influenza virus. However, if an HIV-infected person has low CD4 levels (or other underlying diseases), an influenza infection may be more severe. Finally, the viral load may temporarily increase during a viral infection, especially if the patient is not on HIV inhibitors. However, this information should be taken with caution as we know that influenza virus infections and COVID-19 infections differ on several levels. 

Some antiviral agents used to treat an HIV infection appear to have an effect on SARS-CoV-2 under laboratory conditions. However, we do not yet know what the impact of this finding will be on patients. 

If you are infected with HIV, we recommend that you adhere strictly to the preventive measures. The control of the COVID-19 epidemic has recently moved into phase 2, which means that social distancing measures are being tightened. If you are HIV-positive, it's in your best interest to respect these measures and to favour teleworking whenever possible. 

If you have any complaints (fever, cough, shortness of breath) call your doctor and mention your travel history and symptoms. Do not go to the waiting room or to the emergency room! Consult the website of the federal public service for the latest news. 

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