UNAIDS: Q&A - How Should PLHIV Cope with the Novel Coronavirus Epidemic?
05 February 2020
Given the severity of the current situation of the novel coronavirus epidemic, PLHIV community in China are facing difficulties in continuing treatment.
Given the severity of the current situation of the novel coronavirus epidemic, PLHIV community in China are facing difficulties in continuing treatment and living a normal life. We prepared the below Q&A to address the most frequently questions from the community. We hope you will find this helpful.
1. Are PLHIV susceptible to the novel coronavirus?
All populations are susceptible to the novel coronavirus, including children, adults, seniors, and PLHIV.
According to China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), individuals/populations with underlying conditions such as hypertension, cardiopulmonary insufficiency, insufficient immunity, have higher risk of developing severe pneumonia and organ failure after infection of 2019-nCoV.
PLHIV should take proper protection measure and take HIV antiviral drugs as prescribed to strengthen immunity. Once you have symptoms such as low fever and cough, please seek medical support immediately.
2. Can HIV medicine prevent novel coronavirus?
Although in the guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the novel coronavirus issued by Chinese health authorities and WHO, the antiretroviral drug Lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) is recommended for treatment, there is currently no sufficient evidence to show that PLHIV on Kaletra treatment can be immune to novel coronavirus.
Some of the CBOs also said that some PLHIV who are taking Kaletra are suspected of being infected by the novel coronavirus. We are closely monitoring the situation and will release updates.
3. What should I do if I suspect of being infected by the novel coronavirus?
If you have symptoms such as low fever and cough, you should seek medical treatment in time. You should also report your attending doctors for special attention, or inform your ART doctors about your health condition and the need for medical assistance.
4. My city is under lockdown, how can I acquire ARV refills?
China’s National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention (NCAIDS) has released a directive to allow non-local PLHIV to obtain temporary free drug refill. If you can’t go back to your designated ART facility, you may contact a local CDC or designated hospital to refill your drugs.
When applying for the temporary refill, you need to verify your patient information, including your former treatment facility and your ART ID. You may refer to links below for more details (Chinese only).
5. How should I deal with psychological discomfort such as anxiety and depression?
You may seek help from the below online and telephone psychological counselling and assistance services in an epidemic situation. Please note: These services are not provided by UNAIDS and do not represent our position (Chinese only).