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Covid-19

Covid-19 and HIV

Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Positively UK is suspending all group activities and one-to-one support and clinical outreach until further notice.We appreciate that people living with HIV feel particularly anxious and concerned about the spread of COVID-19. We are doing everything we can to keep our support services running and ensure that  our service users are protected and supported during this difficult time.Therefore, in the coming weeks, we will increase our phone and WhatsApp group support. We will pilot and test new services, such as Facebook livestreaming sessions, GoToMeetings, online peer mentoring and virtual museum tours. Please refer to our website for updates. You can e-mail any suggestions to info@positivelyuk.org or your peer support caseworker.If you feel anxious or distressed, or if you simply need a listening year, please e-mail your support caseworker or info@positivelyuk.org. You can also call us on 02077130444 and the duty staff member will ensure your message is passed to the relevant person.Information related to HIV and Covid-19This information is based on NHS and BHIVA’s resources. Last updated: 27th March 2020Advice is changing rapidly so keep on checking the NHS and government websites regularly! What is COVID-19? A new condition caused by the SARS-CoV-2 strain of the coronavirus, which spreads very easily from person-to-person (much more so than some other types of coronavirus). Nobody has existing immunity to it. Symptoms The symptoms of coronavirus are:
  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath
However, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.About 80% of people with COVID-19 have relatively mild illness, which can lead to diagnosis of infection being delayed or missed altogether, and increases the risk of passing the virus on. Data from Japan estimates 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms – making control even harder.  How to protect yourself
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact and practice social distancing
The government has now specified a group of “extremely vulnerable” individuals who are advised to to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks. People falling into this extremely vulnerable group include solid organ transplant recipients, people with specific cancers, People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD, people with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections, people on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection, women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired. The NHS in England is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice. COVID-19 and HIV The British HIV Association says that there is no evidence that people living with HIV who maintain suppressed viral load are at a greater risk of catching COVID-19. This is because people on HIV treatment with a good CD4 and undetectable viral load are not usually considered to have a “weakened immune system”. People most at risk of serious illness and death are the elderly and people with long-term medical conditions such as lung disease, kidney disease and diabetes. People with CD4 count lower than 200 and those who are not undetectable are however assumed to be a high-risk group too.In summary:1. People with CD4 >200 and undetectable on ART are considered at no greater risk than the general population; follow general advice.2. People with CD4 <200, detectable viral load or not on ART may be at higher risk of severe illness; follow general advice.3. People with a CD4 count <50 or opportunistic illness in last 6 months; follow shielding advice for extremely vulnerable. COVID-19 and HIV medications There is no scientific evidence that HIV antiretroviral medications can protect against COVID-19. Do not increase the number of tablets you take as this could damage your health.Although there is no problem with supplies of HIV medications, it is wise to ensure you have 30 days’ supply of medication. HIV clinics are putting in place measures to ensure that repeat medications are readily available. What to do if you think you have symptoms In this unprecedented time, advice can change rapidly, so you must refer to the latest information published by reliable sources, such as NHS or Government.If you have symptoms and live with other people, try to keep three steps away from them. Open windows in shared spaces, use a dishwasher if possible, and clean shared bathroom each time you use it. Sleep alone if possible and do not share towels. Refer to the latest NHS guidelines on stay at home for up-to-date advice. Do NOT go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do. Only phone 111 if you cannot get help online, if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse. If you feel anxious or distressed, you can call Positively UK and the duty member of staff will refer you to a peer support caseworker.    Staying at home advice Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.You can only leave your home:
  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
Staying at home ...
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latest news & articles

Covid-19

Covid-19 and HIV

Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Positively UK is suspending all group activities and one-to-one support and clinical outreach until further notice.We appreciate that people living with HIV feel particularly anxious and concerned about the spread of COVID-19. We are doing everything we can to keep our support services running and ensure that  our service users are protected and supported during this difficult time.Therefore, in the coming weeks, we will increase our phone and WhatsApp group ...
Read More
Positively UK Newsletter

Newsletter

Read our latest newsletter here ...
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Social Outings

Social Events for ALL People Living With HIV

Do you fancy a Thames boat cruise with lovely views and scores of London's landmarks? Or a cobweb-blowing walk along Brigton's promenade? Are you up for a trendy macaron masterclass or willing to learn how to make delicious Thai food? During our Service User Forum, many of you told us you wanted to attend social events open to all people with HIV. We are delighted to inform you that the healthcare company BUPA has generously ...
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featured articles & news

James' Story

James’ Story

James Globally, there are 37 million people living with HIV. I am one of them and I want to share my story. I was diagnosed HIV positive in the summer of 1996, aged 25. I got my diagnosis very early, within weeks of the original exposure. I have never suffered
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Mario's Story

Mario’s Story

Mario I moved to this country approximately 6 years ago and work as a nurse for the NHS in a very prestigious London hospital. I have lived most of this time in south west London where a big part of the gay community use drugs or ‘chemsex’ as a way
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Jamie's Story

Jamie’s Story

Jamie Watch Jamie talk about his story It was November 2014, and the Terrence Higgins Trust were doing a drive on Facebook for home testing kits for HIV. I've always practised safe sex, but like to get tested every 6 months, because accidents happen. Very soon it became all too
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Ismael's Story

Ismael’s Story

Ismael Hi I’m Ismael, and I’ve been HIV positive since 2013. I had the news when I was doing my twice yearly routine blood test. I didn’t know what HIV meant at that time. So I had to learn what´s that? And how to deal with it. Not a big
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Roland's Story

Roland’s Story

Roland Watch Roland talk about his story I was given my diagnosis on 1 September 2006. My partner had to give me the diagnosis. I was given two weeks to live. I was HIV+. I had AIDS. My AIDS-defining illness was Progressive Multi-focal Leukoencephalytis, a brain disease. The first person
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latest news & articles

Covid-19 and HIV

Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Positively UK is suspending all group activities and one-to-one support ...
Read More

Newsletter

Read our latest newsletter here ...
Read More

Social Events for ALL People Living With HIV

Do you fancy a Thames boat cruise with lovely views and scores of London's landmarks? ...
Read More

Join our team!

Do you have the drive to support people living with HIV to improve their knowledge, ...
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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE LOOK LIKE FOR HIV TREATMENT?

HIV treatment has come a long way since the virus was discovered more than 30 ...
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