HIV persons at higher risk of contracting COVID-19

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Director of the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Rhonda Moore is pleading with persons living with HIV to reduce their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Speaking virtually during the COVID update Wednesday, Dr Moore said persons who are living with HIV without treatment are at an increased risk of developing the most severe form of this disease which will require hospital stay and in most cases ICU care.

“And it is also very possible that you may die,” she said.

“The HIV virus as you know attacks your immune system making it difficult for your body to fight off any infection, COVID-19 included,” Dr Moore said.

She advised persons already on treatment to continue. Dr Moore explained that when using viral suppression to treat the HIV virus, your immune system will be able to fight other infections.

“If you have never used treatment for your condition, I encourage you call the hotline 227-8683 ext 215 and we will direct you to the nearest treatment centre in your region. If you were on treatment before but stopped taking it, please visit your treatment centre to be restarted on your treatment.”

Dr Moore urged persons to stay at home unless it is necessary to go out, wear a mask when going, maintain physical distance and eat healthy.

“A balanced diet goes far way in protecting you. Avoid smoking, using alcohol or illegal substances such as marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and exercise at least 4 times weekly,” Dr Moore said.

Dr Moore further said that for persons who need additional support, the NAPS Food Bank is prepared to work with their treatment site to provide hampers.

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