COVID-19 and People with HIV
How Does COVID-19 Affect People with HIV?
We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Nearly half of people in the United States with diagnosed HIV are ages 50 and older. People with HIV also have higher rates of certain underlying health conditions. Older age and underlying medical conditions can make people more likely to get very sick if they get COVID-19. This is especially true for people with advanced HIV or people with HIV who are not on treatment.
People at increased risk for severe illness, and those who live with or visit them, should take precautions (including getting vaccinated and wearing a well-fitting mask) to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
Visit COVID-19 and HIV FAQs from CDC for the latest information.
Feeling sick? If you have symptoms, take a COVID-19 test immediately. If the test is positive, follow CDC’s steps to take when you are sick. Keep taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy. If you are not taking HIV medicine, talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of getting on HIV treatment. Learn about other key times to get tested.
COVID-19 Treatment. If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick, treatments are available that can reduce your chances of hospitalization and death. Contact a healthcare provider right away or visit a Test to Treat location to see if you’re eligible for treatment, even if your symptoms are mild right now. Don’t delay: COVID-19 treatment must be started within days after you first develop symptoms to be effective. But be aware: some COVID-19 treatments can interact with antiretroviral therapy (ART) used to treat HIV. If you have HIV, let your healthcare provider know before starting COVID-19 treatment. For people without HIV who are on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), there is no evidence that currently available medicine used to treat COVID-19 will interact with HIV PrEP.
COVID-19 Vaccines and People with HIV
CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations have been updated as of September 12. This page will be updated to align with the new recommendations. Learn more.
Get vaccinated. CDC recommends everyone—including people with HIV—stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines for their age group. According to CDC, here’s what you need to know:
- Everyone aged 6 years and older should get 1 updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date.
- People aged 65 years and older may get a 2nd dose of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system) may get additional doses of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people with advanced or untreated HIV.
- Children aged 6 months–5 years may need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, including at least 1 dose of updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, depending on the number of doses they’ve previously received and their age.
COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be updated as needed.
Vaccine safety. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people with HIV. COVID-19 vaccines meet the Food and Drug Administration’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality and people with HIV were included in vaccine clinical trials.
If you have questions about getting COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is right for you, talk to your health care provider.
Visit vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
Long COVID is broadly defined as a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems that people experience after getting COVID-19. Most people with COVID-19 get better within a few days to a few weeks, but anyone who gets COVID-19 can experience Long COVID.
There is no test that determines if your symptoms or condition is due to COVID-19. Long COVID is not one illness. Your healthcare provider considers a diagnosis of Long COVID based on your health history, including if you had a diagnosis of COVID-19 either by a positive test or by symptoms or exposure, as well as doing a health exam. The best way to prevent Long COVID is to protect yourself and others from getting a severe case of COVID-19, including by staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
Studies have shown that some groups of people may be affected more by Long COVID. This includes people who had underlying health conditions prior to COVID-19. Health inequities may also put some people from racial or ethnic minority groups and some people with disabilities at greater risk for developing Long COVID. However, scientists are still working to understand which people or groups of people are more likely to have Long COVID, and why. Some of this research is being coordinated by NIH’s RECOVER initiativeExit Disclaimer.
COVID-19 and HIV: Federal Resources
Below are resources about COVID-19 from agencies across the federal government for people with HIV and the health care providers and organizations who work with them. Information is regularly being updated as we learn more in this evolving situation.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC.gov/COVID-19 —This site provides the latest public health and safety information on COVID-19 from CDC for consumers and the medical and health provider community.
- COVID-19 and People with Certain Medical Conditions—This page provides information for people with certain medical conditions (including HIV) that put you at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Are Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised—This page offers information for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), including those with advanced or untreated HIV.
- HIV and COVID-19 Basics | CDC—This page features FAQs about HIV and COVID-19.
- HIV Self-Testing Guidance—This CDC guidance addresses the use of HIV self-testing programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Older Adults: COVID-19 Risks and Information—This page provides information on COVID-19 risks, vaccines, and treatment for older adults. More than half of people in the U.S. with diagnosed HIV are over age 50.
- People Who Are Immunocompromised—This page provides information for how people who are immunocompromised, including people with advanced or untreated HIV, can protect themselves from COVID—and what to do if they get sick.
- People Who Use Drugs or Have Substance Use Disorder—This page provides COVID-19 information for people who use drugs or have substance use disorder and their loved ones.
- PrEP During COVID-19—This CDC guidance addresses the provision of PrEP for HIV during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
- COVID-19 Information for Health Centers and Partners—This HRSA Health Center Program page provides the latest information on COVID-19 for health centers and Health Center Program partners. HRSA-funded health centers are a vital part of the nation’s response to HIV.
- HRSA HAB COVID-19 Information—This HRSA HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA HAB) page provides links to resources for Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) recipients, subrecipients, and stakeholders who are responding to COVID-19. It includes links to RWHAP COVID-19 FAQs and audio and transcripts from HRSA HAB’s program policy and technical assistance webinars.
- HRSA.gov/coronavirus—This page provides COVID-19 information specific to all HRSA programs and grantees.
Indian Health Service (IHS)
- IHS.gov/coronavirus—This web page provides Information specific to the federal response in Indian Country.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV—This guidance reviews special considerations for persons with HIV and their health care providers in the United States regarding COVID-19.
- NIH Mental Health Resources—NIH has compiled this library of mental health resources related to COVID-19 and mental illnesses and disorders. Good mental health is essential to successfully treating HIV.
- NIDA: Resources to Help Your Patients with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) During the COVID-19 Pandemic—Given the comorbidity of HIV and SUD, this National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) page may be of use to those who work with people with HIV.
- NIDA: COVID-19 and Substance Use—This NIDA page of COVID-19 resources includes FAQs on COVID-19 and addiction/substance use disorder.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Overview of the Impacts of Long COVID on Behavioral Health—This report discusses the cognitive and psychiatric impacts of Long COVID, including the impacts on those with pre-existing mental and substance use disorders and racial/ethnic minorities.
- SAMHSA.gov/coronavirus—This site provides guidance and resources on the prevention and treatment of those with mental health and SUD as it relates to COVID-19, including links to fact sheets on managing stress during COVID-19.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Health+ Long COVID Report—This report brings the experiences of people with Long COVID to the forefront in defining solutions.
- National Research Action Plan on Long COVID—This report provides a unified overview of ongoing federal research on Long COVID, including over 75 research projects and hundreds of published articles. It also lays out a path for future inquiry.
- Services and Supports for Longer-Term Impacts of COVID-19—This report outlines over 200 federally funded programs, supports and services, from housing and financial assistance programs to child care support, that may be available to those impacted by Long COVID.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Community Living
- Strategies to Improve Equitable Vaccine Access for Older Adults and People With Disabilities—This is a compilation of strategies and best practices for helping older adults and people with disabilities access COVID-19 vaccines. More than half of people in the U.S. with diagnosed HIV are over age 50.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights
- HHS OCR Bulletin on Civil Rights Laws and HIPAA Flexibilities that Apply During the COVID-19 Emergency—This Bulletin is focused on ensuring that covered entities do not unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities when making decisions about their treatment during the COVID-19 public health emergency. It includes addressing the needs of people with HIV in emergency planning.
- HHS OCR Guidance on Federal Legal Standards Prohibiting Disability Discrimination in COVID-19 Vaccination Programs—People with or at risk for HIV who have disabilities and those who work with them may find this information useful. (Related fact sheet.)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- HUD HOPWA COVID-19 Guidance and Resources—This page offers COVID-19 guidance, webinars, and other COVID-19 resources for the grantees of HUD’s Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) Program.