HIV & COVID-19 QUICK FACTS
- If you are on effective HIV treatment you are not expected to be at a higher risk of getting coronavirus or developing more severe symptoms (undetectable viral load and CD4+ >400) – important to continue taking it as prescribed
- For individuals not on treatment or not virally suppressed and with a low CD4+ count there may be a higher risk of severe symptoms
- People living with HIV (on effective treatment) who have acquired coronavirus had similar outcomes to people who were HIV-negative
- Currently no medication has been proven effective in high quality studies for the prevention or treatment of coronavirus. There have been some that show potential promise but it is too early to make any claims at this stage.
- Transmission is through respiratory air droplets from coughing or sneezing, touching or close contact with others, and touching a surface with virus on it
- If you feel unwell – including cough, fever, or difficulty breathing – call Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000. For severe symptoms call 9-1-1.
No matter your HIV status – everyone should do the following:
- Regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds is preferred
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an alternative when hand washing is not easily accessible (consider having a moisturizer to help reduce skin dryness)
- Wear gloves when you go out and handle things – remember to wash these or leave them out for a few days before touching them and touching yourself after
- Avoid touching your face and if not possible consider a mask where appropriate
- Avoid people who have been travelling in the last 14 days or who are currently unwell
- Cough or sneeze into your sleeve and consider having tissues just in case
- Clean & disinfect things like counter tops, door handles, and phones
- SOCIAL DISTANCE
What if I lost my job or can’t afford the medication?
If you have no longer have private insurance through work there may be a few options to help. Visit or HIV Treatment Hub for private and public drug plan support options. Our video below with Pharmacist Drew includes some information as well. For people living with HIV who will not be able to work for a longer duration you may qualify for support through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP): https://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/en/mcss/programs/social/odsp/
Mental Health and COVID-19
This can certainly be a difficult time for many. Stress and worry are natural feelings at a time like this and for those with mental health conditions they may potentially worsen. The PrEP Clinic sponsors FREE one-on-one online video counselling sessions with social worker and experienced counselor Randall. If you would like a free appointment you can do from home, download our free app “The PrEP Clinic” and select “Mental Wellness Counselling Appointment”. We have lots of convenient appointment availability – sometimes even on the same day!
Sexual Health and COVID-19
Nurse Practitioner Linh and Pharmacist Drew discuss sexual health during COVID-19. Check out their video below for more info (updates relating to HIV have been posted above). If you would like to discuss sexual health with someone, our sexual health counsellor Kim is available for FREE ono-on-one video appointments through our app as well. If you would like a free appointment you can do from home, download our free app “The PrEP Clinic” and select “Sexual Health Counselling Appointment”.
FREE Online Info Webinars
Check out CATIE‘s two highly informative webinars below:
HIV and COVID-19: Public health, clinical and frontline community perspectives
Coping with COVID-19: Insight from the front lines of HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction
Current Treatment Stduies and COVID-19
A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19
Trial of chloroquine to treat COVID-19 stopped early due to heart complications
Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment of COVID-19: results of an open-label non-randomized clinical trial
Ontario 211: https://211ontario.ca/
Domestic Abuse Support Lines: https://www.dawncanada.net/issues/crisis-hotlines/
Distress Lines: https://www.ementalhealth.ca/…/Crisis-Lines-incl…/index.php…
Kid’s Help Phone: https://kidshelpphone.ca/
MindShift App: https://www.anxietycanada.com/resources/mindshift-cbt/
Fun Things To Do At Home: https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/fun-things-to-do-at-home-3…
LOCAL HIV/AIDS ORGANIZATIONS:
Gilbert Centre: www.gilbertcentre.ca
Toronto People With AIDS Foundation: www.pwatoronto.org
MAX Ottawa: www.maxottawa.ca
AIDS Committee of Ottawa | Le comité du sida d’Ottawa: www.aco-cso.ca
List of Organizations: https://oan.red/members/
Check out Coronavirus Mythbusters from the World Health Organzaiton for some fact-checking: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
CHECK THIS PAGE REGULARLY FOR UPDATES! WE KNOW THE IMPORTANCE TO STAY CURRENT!
Avert. Coronoavirus (C-19) and HIV. Retrieved from: https://www.avert.org/coronavirus
Blanco JL, et al. COVID-19 in patients with HIV: clinical case series. April 12, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(20)30111-9
CATIE. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), HIV and hepatitis C: What you need to know. Retrieved from: https://www.catie.ca/en/catienews/2020-03-17/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-hiv-and-hepatitis-c-what-you-need-know
World Health Organization. Q&A on COVID-19, HIV and antiretrovirals. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-hiv-and-antiretrovirals