HIV and Covid Risk

August 10, 2020

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Anchor lead: Does having HIV put someone at higher risk for severe Covid infection? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Covid-19 is putting worldwide efforts to contain both HIV and tuberculosis at risk, after the best year yet for containment in 2018. Joseph Cofrancesco, an HIV expert at Johns Hopkins, says it still isn’t known exactly how Covid infection affects someone with HIV.

Cofrancesco: There’s some thought that if you are well controlled and you’re taking your meds and you have a high CD4 count, your risk should not be substantially higher than than someone who doesn’t have HIV. But the lower your CD4 count and certainly if you’re not on treatment your risk would be substantially higher. There are however some suggestions at least but I don’t think we have the data yet to support it that HIV itself may be an independent risk for having more severe illness with COVID if you get it.   :28

Cofrancesco says the best advice is to avoid all infectious diseases if possible, and if you already have HIV, to keep up to date on your medications to keep your viral count undetectable, since undetectable means you cannot transmit the infection to someone else. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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