Advice for people living with HIV

The British HIV Association have issued advice for people living with HIV, including advice about vaccination. We advise all people living with HIV are vaccinated for COVID-19.  If you have symptoms or for more information about COVID-19, please see latest government guidance.

We are still open but are responding to a rapidly changing situation in the hospital. If you are unwell with COVID symptoms please follow the NHS advice.

The majority of our doctor appointments are being held by telephone. Pharm@Sea is providing a delivery service for medications. We will continue to supply antiretroviral therapy as normal.

If you have concerns about your HIV-related health or mental health, please call us for advice or a telephone assessment and we will arrange for one of our doctors to see you where this is indicated.

Other advice from the British HIV Association:

  1. People with CD4 count of more than 200 and who have an undetectable viral load on antiretroviral therapy are considered at no greater risk than the general population; follow general advice.
  2. People with CD4 count of less than 200, or people who have a detectable viral load or who are not on antiretroviral therapy may be at higher risk of severe illness; be stringent in following general advice.
  3. People with a CD4 count of less than 50 or who have had an opportunistic infection in the previous 6 months; follow any government shielding advice for the extremely clinically vulnerable group.
  4. People with HIV who have multiple other health conditions may be advised by their GP or HIV doctor to follow advice as outlined in point 3 above.

If you need help to travel to an appointment contact NHS volunteer responders on 0808 196 3646.

COVID Treatments

Community Treatments for COVID for people living with HIV

People living with HIV may be eligible for Community COVID treatments to stop them becoming unwell.  These treatments are either Monoclonal Antibodies or Antivirals and need to be taken within 7 days of symptoms starting. The treatments are intended for people at increased risk of becoming unwell with COVID and are risk assessed on an individual basis. All people living with HIV should receive free lateral flow tests. If you have not received any, please ring NHS 119.

If you develop symptoms of COVID please do the following

  1. Do a lateral flow test. If positive, report the result through the government website or ring NHS 119 or NHS 111
  2. Ring NHS 111 or your GP and tell them you have a positive Lateral flow test and that you may be eligible for community COVID treatments due to an underlying health condition. They will forward your name to the local COVID treatment hub and you will be contacted by a medical consultant for assessment.

HIV patients at higher risk of becoming unwell with COVID are still eligible for Community COVID treatments. Criteria as follows:

·        Uncontrolled or untreated HIV (high viral load) / AIDS Defining diagnosis
·         Newly diagnosed with HIV
·         On ARVs with CD4 count of < 350
·         Stable HIV with CD4 count of > 350 with additional risk factors ( age > 55 years, diabetes, CVD, stroke, obesity, liver or renal disease, homeless, alcohol dependence (and presumably drug dependence)

Non-HIV related eligibility for COVID treatments
Haematological diseases/stem cell transplant
Solid organ transplants
Rare neurological conditions including MS,
Primary immune deficiencies
Solid cancers, surgery only or chemotherapy or radiotherapy in last 12 months, also lung cancer, metastatic cancer
Downs syndrome
Immune mediated inflammatory disorders (IMID) including people on azathioprine or methotrexate (for interstitial lung disease)
Renal disease
Liver disease

To access these treatments patients need to have a positive PCR or a LFT result registered on the government website within 5 days and symptom onset within 7 days.

Further information about current COVID guidelines