Is “Social Distancing” enough for people living with HIV?
Compiled by Tim Nedoba
Efforts of social distancing, which, according to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, is an essential strategy for protecting the most vulnerable among us.
However, “social distancing” is not enough. We know that there are many people with underlying health conditions — including people living with HIV — who have a higher risk of complications from the coronavirus.
Jesse Milan Jr., J.D., President & CEO, AIDS United is urging everyone to write their members of Congress to let them know that in this time of national crisis, they must consider the unique needs of their constituents living with, or at risk for, HIV. https://www.aidsunited.org/
GoGuide would encourage you to write your state, county, city representatives as well.
Dr. John Brooks, senior medical advisor for the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently said that people living with HIV who have a low CD4 count or have a detectable viral load are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Yet, nearly half of all people living with HIV in the United States do not have an undetectable viral load. GG
Current best practices from the CDC
Get ready for COVID-19 now
Take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick.
If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.
- Stock up on supplies.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
- Avoid crowds as much as possible.
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
- During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
Have supplies on hand
- Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
- If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
- Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
- Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
If COVID-19 is spreading in your community
Take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.
Have a plan for if you get sick
- Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
- Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
- Determine who can care for you if your caregiver gets sick.
Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs
- Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
- If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get
medical attention immediately. In adults,
emergency warning signs*:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
Editors note – AIDS United’s sole mission to end the HIV epidemic in the United States. We know a thing or two about responding to health crises. Join us in calling on Congress to consider the needs of people living with HIV as they react to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Editors note – This is not a complete list and information is changing daily. GoGuide is using the CDC website as its primary source of information. Please visit the CDC site and information specific for the HIV/AIDS community is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html .
Of course, always consult with your local physician and/or clinic for the most up to date local information. GG