HIV and COVID-19

Last updated: February 17, 2022

If you live with HIV, you may have a higher risk of developing more serious illness from COVID-19.

Your physician can review your medical record to help you understand your personal risk. More information about HIV and COVID-19 is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Here are answers to some common questions you may have. This information might change as we learn more about COVID-19. If you have other questions, talk to your physician.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you live with HIV, you are not more likely to get COVID-19. However, you are more likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, especially if you have a low CD4 (T) cell count. These cells fight disease and infection.

The COVID-19 virus causes intense infection and inflammation, which can place more stress on the body. With most viral respiratory infections, the risk for serious complications in people with HIV increases if they have a low CD4 cell count (below 200) and if they are not currently on HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART). People with HIV can also be at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19 based on their age and other medical conditions.

Everyone should follow CDC guidelines to help prevent COVID-19 exposure and infection. We urge you to:

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Physically distance.
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Get plenty of sleep.

Keep at least a 30-day supply of your medications. If you need a refill, call your physician or send a request through MyNM. While refilling your prescription, you can limit exposure to COVID-19 by using a mail-order service or drive-thru pharmacy. Or, have a caregiver pick up your medication.

It is also important to stay connected with friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ask for help if you need it. Talk to someone you trust if you feel anxious or stressed.

You should also establish a plan for care if you get sick or have to stay home for 2 weeks.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should be tested for COVID-19. Learn about your testing options in the COVID-19 Resource Center at nm.org/covid19.

The answer depends on many factors. Follow guidelines from the CDC.