Here is information on Coronavirus (Covid-19) and HIV taken from the World Health Organisation (WHO) webpage which was updated on November 29 2020.
I have summarised the salient points and simplified the science. If you would like to know more search WHO Covid-19 Q&A HIV. The WHO page answers questions like research that is looking into antiretroviral (ARVs) to treat Covid-19, assuring continued access to HIV services, tackling stigma and discrimination.
Are people living with HIV at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19? People living with HIV (PLHIV), who are not taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) and have a low CD4 cell count, particularly those with advanced HIV disease, are at increased risk of opportunistic infections and Aids-related complications. However, there is evolving and conflicting evidence whether people living with HIV have an increased risk of acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection and/ or Covid-19 clinical complications in PLHIV compared to the general population.
PLHIV can have a greater prevalence of the known risk factors for Covid-19 acquisition and complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, obesity, as well as, other comorbidities and co-infections, like tuberculosis.
There is limited clinical data suggesting the likelihood of PLHIV dying is associated with known Covid-19 factors such as older age and presence of other issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and obesity. There is also limited data in patients with advanced HIV disease (i.e. low CD4 cell count).
One scientific review hinted at a potential susceptibility among PLHIV. Additional data on this topic come from several studies from South Africa, the USA and the UK have reported a moderate increased risk of death directly attributed to HIV infection after adjustments for age, sex, ethnicity and presence of comorbidities.
Protecting people living with HIV during the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuring they can maintain treatment, is critical. Researchers are currently investigating whether people with HIV have an increased risk of poor outcomes with Covid-19. It makes urgent that people with HIV have access to ARVs and treatments for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and maintenance of a healthy body weight.
More data is needed to A understand how co-infection Covid-19 with HIV impacts the severity of illness, disease progression and outcomes from hospitalisation with Covid-19. For this purpose, WHO has established a Global Covid-19 Clinical Platform. The platform is open to all Member States and health facilities to contribute data and inclusion will help inform future guidance on how best to ensure PLHIV are well protected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
PLHIV are advised to take the same Covid-19 precautions as recommended for the general population: wash hands often; practice cough etiquette; ensure physical distancing; wear masks when appropriate and according to local regulations; seek medical care if symptomatic; self-isolate if one develops symptoms or has contact with a positive Covid-19 case; and other actions per the local and government response.