Living with HIV / AIDS

Am I more at risk for COVID-19?

Currently there is limited data and information about the impact of underlying medical conditions and whether they increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know at this time, people with an immunocompromised state from HIV might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Among people with HIV, those at risk for getting very sick are:

  • People with a low CD4 cell count
  • People not on HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART)
  • Older adults, especially those 65 years and older
  • People living with other medical conditions

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

Take precautions to help prevent becoming ill with COVID-19 by:

  • Staying at home and practice social distancing (avoiding crowds and keeping at least 6 feet of distance between
  • yourself and others)
  • Wearing a mask is required when out of your home for grocery shopping, physical activity, and medical appointments.
  • In situations where social distancing can be difficult (grocery shopping, waiting rooms for medical appointments, or the pharmacy).
  • Washing your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or cough/sneeze in your upper sleeve. Immediately throw away used tissues in the trash, then wash hands.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs

Continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Staying healthy helps your immune system fight off infection. This includes:

  • Eating well balanced, nutritious meals.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Reducing stress as much as possible.
  • Staying active while practicing social distancing.
  • Staying up to date on recommended vaccinations, including an annual flu shot.

How can I be prepared?

If you have HIV and are on medication, it’s important you continue your treatment and follow advice from your healthcare provider. Make sure you have 30 days or more of essential medications and the following supplies:

  • A two-week supply of food and water at home
  • Copies and up-to-date electronic versions of health records
  • Adequate supply of non-prescription and prescription drugs

How can I manage stress and anxiety?

Increased fear and anxiety along with isolation and feeling disconnected can cause strong emotions. Protecting one’s mental health is very important at this time. Here are some tips to cope:

  • Stay connected to your friends and family either over the phone or online.
  • Take breaks from Coronavirus (COVID-19) news and social media.
  • Take care of your body. Eat well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have feelings of sadness and anxiety that do not go away.
Additional Resources For support, Contact Link Up Oakland, a free, confidential service to help people who are living with HIV access medical care and support services. Call 248-410-7537 or email: Learn more about managing stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or a loved one are feeling sad or overwhelmed, call Oakland Community Health Network’s Resource and Crisis Helpline at 800-231-1127. If you have thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat with them at For people in abusive relationships, times of crisis can be hard. If you need help, call the free, 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (TTY 800-787-3224). You can also live chat.