COVID-19 and People with HIV

Content From: HIV.govUpdated: January 10, 20238 min read


HIV and COVID-19. HIV Basics. CDC.

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? Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19. 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 health care provider about the benefits of getting on HIV treatment. Learn more about what to do if you get sick.

COVID-19 Treatment. If you test positive and are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19,, talk to your health care provider to see if you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatment or preventive medicine that can reduce your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the disease.  You can also visit a Test to Treat location and, if eligible, receive a prescription from a provider. Don’t delay: COVID-19 treatment must be started within the first few days 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 health care provider know before starting COVID-19 treatment. However, there are no known interactions between ART and the medicine used to prevent COVID-19 (Evusheld). For people without HIV, there is also no evidence that currently available medicine used to prevent or treat COVID-19 will interact with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV.

COVID-19 Vaccines and People with HIV

Get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older including people with HIV, regardless of their CD4 count or viral load. The number of vaccine doses you need depends on your age and the type of vaccine you receive.

Additional primary shot. After completing the COVID-19 vaccine primary series, some people who have advanced HIV (including an AIDS diagnosis) or who have HIV and are not taking HIV treatment should get an additional primary shot. This additional primary shot is intended to improve a person’s immune response to their two-dose COVID-19 vaccine primary series. People who are eligible for this additional primary shot should receive this dose before they get a booster shot. CDC does not recommend an additional primary shot of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with HIV who are virally suppressed or who do not have advanced HIV. Talk to your health care provider to determine if getting an additional primary shot is right for you.

Booster shots. Booster shots are an important part of protecting yourself from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. CDC recommends that everyone, including people with HIV, get a booster shot when they are eligible. CDC recommends that everyone over age 5 get one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been more than 2 months since your last dose. If you’ve had COVID-19, CDC says you may delay getting your booster by 3 months since your symptoms ended. Use CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool to learn when to get a booster and which booster you should get.

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.

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines interfere with ART or with pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV. Learn more about vaccine safety.

If you have questions about getting COVID-19 vaccine and whether it is right for you, talk to your health care provider.

 Visit or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

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)

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Indian Health Service (IHS)

  •—This web page provides Information specific to the federal response in Indian Country.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

  •—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) Administration for Community Living

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights

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.

U.S. Department of State

  • PEPFAR’s HIV Response in the Context of COVID-19—The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. This resource outlines PEPFAR’s ongoing HIV response in the context of COVID-19.