HIV & COVID-19: What Do I Need to Know?
Am I at increased risk?
The impact of COVID-19 on people with HIV is not known.
Although people with HIV who are on treatment with a normal CD4 T-cell count may not be at an increased risk of serious illness, many people with HIV have conditions that increase their risk:
- Older Age: 60 or older
- Chronic Medical Problems: Heart Disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer, asthma
- Immune Suppression (weakened immune system): having a low CD4 T-cell count (less than 200) or not taking HIV medication.
If you are not currently taking HIV medication, and would like to start, please call the nurse navigator line at 859-323-1688.
What can people with HIV do to protect themselves and others from getting COVID-19?
The basics for protecting yourself from COVID-19 are the same as for everyone:
- Wash your hands with soap and water! – Click here for handwashing tips or watch this.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough and use a tissue or sneeze into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces. - Click here for information
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, even in your own home.
- Practice “social distancing” in public: keep 6 feet between you and other people – Read more here and here.
- Stay away from work, school, and other people if you become sick.
- Continue taking your HIV medications to keep your immune system as healthy as possible.
I believe I have symptoms. Do I need to get tested for COVID-19?
- If you have cough and fever, try to stay at home and away from others.
- If you’re having trouble breathing, call 911 or go to the emergency room.
- If you have worsening flu-like symptoms and cough, contact the clinic (859-323-1688 or 859-323-5544) OR your primary care provider’s office.
- The Bluegrass Care Clinic is not currently providing testing for people without symptoms.
How can I make sure I have access to my medications?
- Plan ahead - make sure you have enough medication and refills. For refills, call the refill line at 859-562-3032.
- The KADAP pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. The direct phone number is 859-323-5252.
- The KADAP pharmacy can mail your medications to you for free.
- Contact your care coordinator to make sure you are active in the Ryan White/KADAP program. (See contact information below)
Should I attend my medical appointments at the BCC during the COVID-19 outbreak?
- The Centers for Disease Control and public health authorities are asking everyone to do their part to decrease the spread of COVID-19. The BCC is doing everything we can to keep patients safe.
- The BCC is screening clinic schedules and contacting patients to discuss alternate care delivery options (examples: rescheduling appointments, telephone visits, or telemedicine)
- Please keep your medical appointments unless directed otherwise by the clinic.
- If you have questions or concerns about coming to an appointment, call 859-323-5544.
Should I do anything differently when I come to an appointment?
- Let the front desk staff know if you have flu-like symptoms.
- Only bring friends and family with you when necessary.
Can I call or email my care coordinator instead of walking in?
- Yes. Many care coordinator needs can be handled by phone to help keep you safe. (See contact information below)
- You’re encouraged to call before walking in when possible.
Care Coordinator Contact Information:
Kara Emily Cross
Housing Case Manager
Program Coordinator- EFA
Care Coordinator Supervisor
Helpful Resource Links:
Kentucky’s COVID-19 Website: https://govstatus.egov.com/kycovid19
COVID-19 Information for People Living With HIV: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DOA/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID19forHIVPoz_ADA.pdf
Poz.com: “UPDATED: What People With HIV Need to Know About the New Coronavirus.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March 12). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID:19): How to Prepare- Protect Yourself. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, March 12). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID:19): If You Are at Higher Risk. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-comp....