FAQ: Coronavirus and HIV-Positive Patients
Last updated April 22, 2020
If you or one of your loved ones is a UCSF HIV-positive patient, get answers here to important questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to minimize your risk of infection.
I am HIV-positive. Do I need to take special precautions?
Currently there is little experience with COVID-19 in HIV-positive patients. It is possible that patients with low CD4 counts and poorly controlled HIV infection will be more susceptible to COVID-19 and have more serious disease. You should continue taking your HIV medicine and follow the advice of your health care provider. All HIV-positive patients should follow guidelines to decrease their chance of COVID-19 infection:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people outside of your home.
- Do not come to work if you are sick.
- Avoid all nonessential travel.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash. Then wash your hands with soap and water.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home as much as possible. If you need to go out, avoid crowded public spaces, staying at least 6 feet away from all other persons.
- Wear a mask or cloth face covering when you are in public places, such as the grocery store. Please do not wear a mask with a valve, as these masks allow droplet release and do not protect others who may be nearby.
I am HIV-positive. Do I need to contact my physician to obtain an extended supply of my antiretroviral medications?
Currently there are no expected medication shortages, but make sure you have a 30-day supply of your HIV medicine and any other medicines or medical supplies you need for managing your HIV infection. Obtaining an extended supply (90 days) of antiretroviral medications may be possible depending on insurance and the use of specialty pharmacies. Obtaining a supply beyond 90 days is not recommended at this time.
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.