Is coronavirus dangerous for HIV-infected people?

Coronavirus in HIV-infected people

To date, there is very little research on the impact of coronavirus on HIV-infected people. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a healthy HIV-infected person with a normal viral load who is receiving antiretroviral therapy has a low risk of serious complications associated with COVID-19.

People living with HIV who are not on treatment, especially those with very low CD4 cell counts, may be at increased risk of serious complications associated with coronavirus.

The danger of coronavirus (COVID-19) for HIV-infected people also lies in the fact that they are more likely to have chronic diseases than HIV-negative people of the same age. Due to this, COVID-19 infection may be more severe.

In general, the disease caused by the COVID-19 virus is most acute in older people, especially those who already have diseases such as hypertension, diabetes , cardiovascular disease or chronic lung disease.

It is especially important for people with HIV infection to undergo regular examinations, monitor their health and follow the treatment prescribed by their doctor in order to minimize the risk of death when infected with coronavirus.

Because the new COVID-19 requires further study, the Department of Public Health recommends that people with HIV infection take additional precautions:

  • Get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal infections in advance;
  • think in advance about a medical care plan in case of isolation and quarantine;
  • stock up in advance on the necessary amount of antiretroviral drugs, sufficient for at least a month.

Vaccine and treatment

To date, there are no approved treatments or vaccines SARS CoV-2 However, research is underway with various potential treatments for coronavirus infection.

Based on laboratory studies with cells and viruses, there is speculation that older HIV treatments can suppress SARS CoV-2. It is a Lopinavir-Ritonavir treatment regimen and is marketed as Kaletra in Canada and other high-income countries, and Aluvia (and generic formulations) in other regions.  

Clinical trials are being conducted to find out if Kaletra is effective in people with COVID-19. However, taking Kaletra causes side effects such as diarrhea, loose stools and nausea. The drug can also interact with many other medications, increasing or decreasing their levels in the body.

There is no evidence that other HIV drugs are effective against coronavirus.

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