Are people living with HIV more at risk from coronavirus?

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04/01/2020

As coronavirus sweeps the world, many people living with HIV are asking whether their status counts as an underlying condition and makes them more at risk. Many HIV-positive people in countries such as Britain and the United States are aged over 50, having contracted the virus during the AIDS pandemic in the 1980-90s, making them more at risk generally to illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. A 2016 report from public policy research organisation, The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, found HIV-positive LGBT elders had worse overall mental and physical health than their heterosexual peers. What are the risk factors for people – of all ages – living with HIV in terms of coronavirus? “What people first want to know is often related to strict biological risk — are people living with HIV who encounter COVID-19 at higher risk of contracting COVID or of higher complications? The reality is we just don’t know enough on that right now. We do know that those who are ageing, and with pre-existing heart and lung diseases — including those living with HIV — are at higher risk.

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