Follow Us
HIV TreatmentHIV, the Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), and COVID-19

What You Need to Know About the New Coronavirus and HIV

washing hands
Moyo Studio 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 don't have research on this yet. 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 research on this yet. 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: wash your hands, avoid travel, 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?

    There is zero reliable research to date supporting the effectiveness of any HIV medications in preventing or treating COVID-19.

    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. Consider wearing a mask.

    Mathew Rodriguez

    Mathew Rodriguez


    Mathew Rodriguez is the associate editor of 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.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H.

    David Malebranche, M.D., M.P.H., is a black same-gender-loving educator, author, activist, and internal medicine physician. He co-hosts the YouTube series 'Revolutionary Health' as part of The Counter Narrative Project and also appears on the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.