HIV TreatmentHIV and COVID-19 (New Coronavirus)

COVID-19 and HIV: What You Need to Know

(l to r) Artem_Egorov via iStock, BlackJack3D via iStock

    Frequently Asked QuestionsHIV, Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), & COVID-19

    Are people living with HIV at greater risk for getting the new coronavirus?

    Scientists aren't certain yet. But if you're on HIV treatment and have a relatively good CD4 count, then your immune system is in a good place to prevent infection.

    If a person with HIV has the coronavirus, are they more likely to get very sick or die?

    We still aren't certain. But as long as your immune system is healthy -- i.e., you're taking HIV medications and your CD4 count is not low -- that will help fight off infection.

    Does a person's CD4 (T-cell) count affect their coronavirus risk?

    There's no firm research on this, but a "normal" CD4 count -- which, depending on the person, can be anywhere from 450 to 1,100 -- can protect a person from many illnesses.

    How can people with HIV protect themselves from the coronavirus?

    Stay on HIV medications, and try to stay physically active and eat nutritionally. Beyond that: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid travel and indoor crowds, practice social distancing, rest, and avoid stress.

    How should a person with HIV prepare for possible coronavirus infection?

    Try to obtain at least a 30-day supply of HIV meds (90, if you can). Tell people close to you what medications you're on. Talk with your care provider about what to do if you get sick.

    Can HIV meds prevent or treat coronavirus infection?

    Not directly -- there are no clear benefits to the use of any specific HIV medications in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19. But HIV treatment in general can make your immune system stronger, which will help fight off the coronavirus.

    What should a person with HIV do if they have the coronavirus?

    Keep taking your HIV meds. Stay home -- if you need to leave for medical care, call ahead. If you live with someone else, don't share any personal items. Clean surfaces frequently. Wear a snug-fitting mask when you're around others.

    Basic Info on the Coronavirus and HIV

    Research on Coronavirus Risk, Severity, and Testing

    Research on HIV Meds and COVID-19

    Myles Helfand

    Myles Helfand


    Myles is the executive editor and general manager of TheBody/TheBodyPro. A career journalist and editor, Myles joined TheBody in 2001 as a part-time copyeditor. He has since established himself as a leading journalist and content strategist on HIV-related issues, authoring hundreds of articles and editing hundreds more -- and accumulating an ever-growing mountain of HIV conference badges along the way.

    Mathew Rodriguez

    Mathew Rodriguez


    Mathew Rodriguez is an editor at TheBody/TheBodyPro. He is an award-winning queer Latinx journalist and essayist whose work has been featured in Mic, Out, Slate, POZ, and The Village Voice. He also teaches writing at the University of California-Los Angeles.