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Coronavirus and HIV

Despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions being lifted across the UK, the virus remains in circulation amongst the population and hasn’t gone away. It’s likely we will continue to see spikes in new cases and local lockdowns introduced for the rest of this year. It’s really important to stay vigilant and follow the advice provided by local authorities and the devolved Governments.

Health conditions like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are independent risk factors of severe COVID-19 illness amongst the general population, as is age and ethnic background. We see similar patterns amongst people living with HIV. There is a possible signal that HIV may also be an additional risk factor for the development of severe COVID-19 illness, but this is by no means confirmed and more research is needed.

The study data in the UK which includes people living with HIV and COVID-19 is based on very small numbers and it’s not possible to draw any firm conclusions at this stage.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) haven’t changed their previous advice as a result of the UK data, and will continue to monitor this very closely. If you have any concerns about coronavirus and HIV, please contact your clinic team for further reassurance and advice.

Here are is a 5-point plan to help you stay safe and well whilst coronavirus and COVID-19 illness continues to be a public health concern:

Stay safe – social distancing, regular hand washing, using hand sanitiser and wearing face coverings or masks (where recommended) are the most effective ways to avoid getting or passing on coronavirus.

Stay well – seek medical help if you think you have coronavirus or for any non-coronavirus illnesses and health conditions. Don’t delay contacting your GP about other health problems and if it’s an emergency use the 999-ambulance service. Stokes, heart attacks and other serious health problems need immediate attention.

Stay vigilant – get regular updates on the advice provided by local authorities and Government departments across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as there might be different arrangements in place. This is particularly important where there are local lockdown measures re-introduced.

Get tested – if you think you have coronavirus get tested as soon as possible and self-isolate until you get the test result back. If the test is positive you should continue to self-isolate as per the current guidelines.

Seek support – changes to our way of life have had a big impact on the emotional health and wellbeing for many people. We’re here to support people living with or affected by HIV through our online peer support service. This is available to anyone living in the UK or UK nationals working and living abroad.

Online support

Plushealth online peer support

Plushealth FAQ sheet

Plushealth wellbeing information

MyHIV community forum

Peer.support@plushealth.org.uk

Further information

NHS coronavirus Information

NHS coronavirus Information

NHS track and trace service information

If you have a health emergency (heart attack, stroke, severe problems with breathing) or another risk to life please call 999. Please don’t delay getting emergency help when it’s needed!

Welcome to Plus health

Plus Health is a voluntary, not for profit, community project for people living with HIV, their partners, close family friends and carers. Providing FREE and confidential online peer support forms a central part of the way we work. We believe universal access to peer support is an essential part of HIV care in its wider sense. This is well recognised amongst health care professionals, support charities and community advocates alike. Using online technology people living with HIV have the opportunity to talk with a peer support volunteer who has authentic experience of life with HIV.

Plushealth peer support Here

Our website is arranged to mirror the individual journey we experience from initial diagnosis to older age, and everything in between. The information pages clearly set out the practical nuts and bolts information which is designed to improve knowledge and empower everyone living with HIV to enjoy healthy, long lived and fulfilling lives.

You can book FREE Skype or WhatsApp appointments online, which gives you the flexibility and convenience of arranging a peer support session that fits in with you. We recognise that privacy can be a barrier for some and working remotely can help overcome this. Your online appointments can be delivered using text, voice or video calls, which gives you flexibility and choice, so you remain in control of your privacy.

Where next?

Have you recently found out you’re living with HIV? Visit our Plus newbie page which provides practical information about your treatment and care.
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Looking for treatment and care information, including NHS prescribing guidelines? Why not visit our Plus treatment page for information about your treatment options?
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Want to know more about UequalsU? Check out our Plus undetectable page for all the information you need. Undetectable really does mean Untransmissible!
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Have you been living with HIV for some time? Do you need more information about living well with HIV? Visit our Plus wellbeing page.
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