There are a number factors that put people who are carrying the HIV virus at higher risk than others. Firstly, the factors that affect your chances of becoming infected with the corona virus are as follows.

  1. Your age: people over the age of 50 are more susceptible
  2. People with compromised immune systems
  3. Thos with pulmonary diseases, eg asthma, lung disease etc

HIV positive people in general have compromised immune systems and the chances of contracting any virus, be it the annual flu or the Covid 19 virus, are more at risk. The age of the HIV positive community is getting older and would hence be at higher risk and of cpourse complications as a result of HIV infection often becomes pneumonia.

Having said this, HIC positive people who are on any of the new ARV’s and whose CD4 count is under control, seem to be no more susceptible to contracting the Corona virus than any other person. Those that are still taking older ARV’s, may be at a much higher risk as their effect lowers immunity bu depleting the system of white blood cells which fight infection.

In a recent Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention study of more than 45000 confirmed cases, the results were as follows.

  1. People with coexisting conditions had higher death rates: 5.6% for cancer, 6.0% for high blood pressure, 6.3% for chronic respiratory disease, 7.3% for diabetes and 10.5% for cardiovascular disease.
  2. The greatest risk was seen among people age 80 or older, at 14.8%.

The nature of science and the search for vaccine in a pandemic is a frenetic activity by medical fraternities around the globe. One of the areas that is tested, are the use of current drugs, which would include Anti retroviral medication.

Precautions to follow

At all times apply common sense to precautionary measures. The virus is spread through contact with droplets of saliva that contain the virus.

    1. Avoid close contact with people who may be infected por have any respiratory infection. (approx 2 meters)
    2. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often for at least 20 seconds. Wash after touching door handles, railings etc (use common sense)
    3. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water
    4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. (this is the main reason you wear a mask
    5. Use a face mask if you are caring for someone who is ill.
    6. Get the flu vaccine and older people should also consider getting vaccinated against pneumonia.

If you get the flu or any other respiratoiry illness:

  1. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your bent elbow, and immediately dispose of tissues.
  2. Avoid close contact with others by self imposing isolation
  3. Stay home if you are sick.
  4. Contact your doctor immediately if you develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  5. Contact your doctor immediately if you have been in contact with someone who has contracted the corona virus
  6. Call your doctor first and advise him you have been in contact with a corona virus patient so the staff can take appropriate precautions.
  7. Wearing a face mask can stop the spread of droplets that can transmit the virus to others.
  8. Older individuals, people living with HIV and those with cardiovascular disease or other conditions may benefit from extra precautions.

The main thing is to be cautious but do not panic. This does not help anyone.