What to Know About HIV and COVID-19
People with HIV may have concerns and questions about COVID-19, including the risk of serious illness and vaccine safety. CDC will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.
We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Based on what we know at this time, people with HIV may be more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.
Other factors can also increase the risk for severe illness, such as age and certain underlying medical conditions. Older adults, people with certain medical conditions, and pregnant and recently pregnant people should take preventive actions (including getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing) to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines are as safe as possible. COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same safety tests and met the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards needed to support emergency use authorization. People with HIV were included in clinical trialsexternal icon.
If you have HIV and are 12 years of age or older, you can get vaccinated if you have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients. Learn about what to do if you are allergic to an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you:
- Visit vaccines.gov,
- Text your ZIP code to 438829, or
- Call 1-800-232-0233.
If you have HIV and are taking your HIV medicine, it is important to continue your treatment and follow the advice of your health care provider. This is the best way to keep your immune system healthy.
People with HIV can protect themselves from COVID-19 by:
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible,
- Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth,
- Staying 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you,
- Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and
- Washing your hands often with soap and water.
Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
If you have a weakened immune system, you may not be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. After vaccination, you should continue taking all everyday preventive actions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your health care provider.
People with HIV should also continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle by:
- Maintaining a healthy diet,
- Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night,
- Reducing stress as much as possible, and
- Taking your medicine as prescribed.
Staying healthy helps your immune system fight off infection should it occur.
Nearly half of people in the United States with diagnosed HIV are aged 50 years and older. People with HIV also have higher rates of certain underlying health conditions. Older age and underlying health conditions can put people with HIV at increased risk for more severe illness if they get COVID-19. This is especially true for people with advanced HIV.
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19.
Most people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have COVID-19 and have symptoms of illness, you should get tested.
It’s important to continue taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy.
If you experience severe symptoms, get emergency medical care immediately. Call ahead to the emergency department and tell the operator that you may have COVID-19.
Learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you get sick.
Steps that people with HIV can take to prepare in addition to what is recommended for everybody:
- Make sure you have at least a 30- to 90-day supply of your HIV medicine and any other medications or medical supplies you need for managing HIV. Ask your health care provider about receiving your medicine by mail.
- Talk to your health care provider and make sure all your vaccinations are up to date, including vaccinations against seasonal influenza (flu) and bacterial pneumonia. These vaccine-preventable diseases disproportionally affect people with HIV.
- When possible, keep your medical appointments. Check with your health care provider about safety precautions for office visits and ask about telemedicine or remote clinical care options.
- People with HIV can sometimes be more likely than others to need extra help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, and others. If you become sick, make sure you stay in touch by phone or email with people who can help you.
Currently, treatment for COVID-19 is very limited. There is no evidence that any medicines used to treat HIV are effective against COVID-19. People with HIV should not switch their HIV medicine in an attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Some clinical trials are looking at whether HIV medicines can treat COVID-19. Other trials are looking at the effectiveness of different drugs to treat COVID-19 in people with HIV. They are also looking to better understand how people with HIV manage COVID-19. You can learn more at ClinicalTrials.govexternal icon.
Minimizing stigma and misinformation about COVID-19 is very important. People with HIV have experience in dealing with stigma and can be allies in preventing COVID-19 stigma. Learn how you can reduce stigma and help prevent the spread of rumors about COVID-19.