Since its appearance over a year ago, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has raised a great number of mysteries which scientific teams from all over the world have dedicated to unravel. Among the questions, one immediately arose regarding how the new disease could affect people who were already living with HIV.
With time and after several studies, there is no hard data showing that people with HIV have a higher risk of getting the novel coronavirus, however, there is data showing that, in the case of getting sick with COVID-19, there can be a higher risk of getting seriously ill, especially if HIV is poorly controlled, they are elderly or if they have other diseases, according to data from the Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundation, from Barcelona.
Vaccines for people with HIV
Afterwards, concerns started coming up on the potential effects of available COVID-19 vaccines in people with HIV. As vaccination has advanced in worldwide population, HIV positive people are one of the priority populations to receive immunization, but misinformation regarding this have continued to circulate and could generate doubts.
Medical data indicates that if you live with HIV, you can receive the COVID vaccine without any prior assessment other than the one already applied to everybody else. We have to remember that none of the vaccines that have been approved so far work with live viruses, therefore they do not cause an infection with SARS-CoV-2, rather, they prepare the organism to fight it.
Data from UNAIDS
This is how, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has made it clear that vaccines against COVID-19 provide people with HIV “the same benefits as the rest of individuals and communities”. This means, they help prevent serious cases of COVID-19 but they also potentially reduce the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
HIV positive people who go get vaccinated should be aware of the same potential side effects than the rest of the population: an allergic reaction may present itself 30 minutes after its application, which will be controlled by the health personnel prepared for these cases. Additionally, pain on the site of the injection, low fever or general discomfort may occur in the following days.
These mild discomforts aside, different organisms around the world, agree that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 brings more benefits than risks for several groups of the population.
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