Coronavirus and HIV: LGBT charity Terrence Higgins Trust explains who’s most at risk

Coronavirus and HIV: LGBT charity Terrence Higgins Trust explains who’s most at risk
News
Posted on 25 Mar 2020

LGBT charity Terrence Higgins Trust’s (THT) medical director has moved to explain the impact of coronavirus on people living with HIV.


Dr Michael Brady used the THT website to outline the situation regarding the Covid-19 virus and the HIV virus. 

He said: “Covid-19 infection is likely to be worse in those with a ‘weakened immune system’. This does not mean that all people with HIV are considered at increased risk. Those on HIV treatment with a good CD4 count and an undetectable viral load are not considered to have weakened immune systems. A ‘good’ CD4 count means anything over 200. If your CD4 count is less than 200, if you’re not on treatment or if you have a detectable viral load, then it's particularly important that you follow the guidance to reduce the risk of catching the virus.


“Public Health England has now identified people who are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. They are being advised to ‘shield’ themselves from the virus, which means staying at home at all times and avoiding face-to-face contact for at least 12 weeks (although this time may change). Although people living with HIV are not included in this list, the British HIV Association (BHIVA) is advising that those with a CD4 count less than 50 or those diagnosed with an opportunistic infection in the last six months should also follow this advice.

“Effective treatment means that the vast majority of people living with HIV have an undetectable viral and a good CD4 count. We usually don’t do the CD4 count test anymore because we know that, as long as you remain undetectable, your CD4 count won't fall. As a result, it may be a number of years since you last had your CD4 count checked. Don’t worry about this: you don’t need to have a CD4 count done now. As long as your viral load remains undetectable, your CD4 count will be as good as it was when it was last tested - and probably better.”


For more information from Dr Brady, visit tht.org.uk/news/coronavirus-covid-19

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