The COVID-19 pandemic began in the latter parts of 2019. And while it has been almost two years since it broke out, there are still many things to learn about how it affects people. Just recently, different brands of COVID-19 vaccines have been disseminated around the world. In this article, we are going to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on people with HIV. Let us tackle the significant links between the COVID vaccine and HIV. But just as you would ask for advice from your dentist about certain procedures, it is best to still seek your doctor’s recommendation, especially regarding this matter. We would always tell our patrons and readers, if you are HIV positive and wish to get a vaccination, talk to your doctor.
Safety of COVID Vaccine for HIV Positive People
Authorized and approved vaccines are considered safe for almost everyone, including people living with HIV. Before vaccines were spread worldwide, national and global authorities ensured their safety by reviewing each vaccine’s data and information.
Researchers conclude that people with HIV need not worry about any complications or the vaccine being inefficient. Studies show that they are not at greater risk of vaccine side effects than HIV-negative people.
The vaccines given to everyone these days contain a few genetic materials taken from SARS CoV 2 (the virus that brings COVID-19). The materials from SARS CoV 2 stimulates the human body’s immune system to generate antibodies that will fight the infection. Approved vaccines do not use live vaccines, making them generally safe even for immunocompromised individuals, including people living with HIV.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 vaccine shows no significant reaction against antiretroviral medicines, the medication prescribed to people with HIV. Therefore, they can continue their medication after vaccination.
COVID-19 Vaccine Testing
Before authorizing the use of COVID-19 vaccines, several clinical trials are done to test their efficacy, safety, and potential risks. Primarily, researchers test the vaccines on people without HIV or any health condition. After concluding that the vaccine is safe for most participants, HIV-positive individuals have started to participate.
However, it’s important to note that the participants with HIV are limited, and the period allotted for the testings is quite short. This is why most of the data for the immune response of people with HIV to coronavirus vaccines is still unreleased to this date.
COVID-19 vaccines are formulated to manage the rapid spread of coronavirus. Related to this, the vaccination will not reduce any illnesses or diseases. In most countries, adverse effects following the immunity must be reported immediately. Regulatory authorities must have direct contact with the manufacturers of the vaccines in case of emergency. On the other hand, manufacturers are responsible for disseminating the latest information about their vaccines.
Since there is still a lot to learn about COVID vaccines and HIV, further studies are still needed. However, research suggests that older adults or people with underlying health conditions, including those with weak immunity, could be at increased risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms and other illnesses. People with HIV could be at higher risk if they:
- have a meager cd4 cell count
- HIV positive people not taking HIV treatment
Coronavirus Vaccine Priorities
Technically, we cannot conclude that there is a shortage of vaccines. Manufacturers are working with full efforts to supply the demands. Nations practically prioritize senior citizens, people who are immunocompromised, and those with severe health conditions. HIV-positive individuals are included in this category.
People with HIV are prioritized and are often included in the first wave of vaccination. While this is the recommended vaccination protocol, each nation has the right to decide how they will provide vaccines for their citizens.
Protecting HIV Patients Against the Pandemic
Basically, the safest way to prevent getting COVID is by avoiding any exposure to the virus. People with HIV must take precautionary measures to minimize their chances of getting sick. They must continue with their HIV treatment and seek professional advice from their healthcare provider.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also a key to staying healthy.
Practices for a healthy lifestyle:
- Reduce consumption of unhealthy fats
- Eat healthy meals and watch your diet
- Minimize salt and sugar consumption
- Stay physically active (regular exercise and physical activities)
- If possible, get tested
- Avoid/stop smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Try to get enough sleep (adults need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day)
Living a healthy lifestyle will ensure that your body is strong enough to fight viral infections
What to Do if you have COVID-19 Symptoms?
The infection typically starts with flu-like symptoms. So it’s hard to tell unless the signs are severe and somewhat different from the common flu. The best thing to do is to call your healthcare provider and describe how you feel.
Many people with COVID-19 can recover in their own homes, but to be on the safe side, have yourself tested immediately. Do not stop taking your HIV medications unless asked by your doctor. In times like this, the most important thing is to ensure that your immunity will stay stable as much as possible. Moreover do not forget to cancel any appointments for dental examination or medical treatment for other issues so that you don’t infect the clinic you visit.
Treatments for HIV and COVID
The information about the specific cure for COVID-19 is still minimal. Health professionals think that the best way to combat the pandemic is by strengthening the immunity of the entire population. As for people with HIV, there is no definite proof that their medicines can treat SARS CoV 2. Therefore, using their medication to alleviate corona symptoms is not recommended.
Yet, the possibility that HIV medications might be helpful is still regarded. Researchers are still trying to use HIV drugs to come up with a medicine that will cure COVID.
Furthermore, they are still trying to determine how people with HIV and AIDS manage the virus. Their immune responses to the vaccine are also accounted for.
COVID-19 and HIV (https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/covid-19.html)
COVID-19 VACCINES AND HIV (https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/covid19-vaccines-and-hiv_en.pdf)