HIV persons urged to take extra precautions due to higher risk of contracting COVID-19

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The National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) is urging persons living with HIV to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19.

On Wednesday, NAPS Programme Director, Dr. Rhonda Moore explained that persons who are HIV positive but not on treatment or not virally suppressed are at an increased risk of developing the most severe form of COVID-19.

“If you are already on treatment and continue to use it as the doctor advised, well done. If you have never used treatment for your condition, I encourage you to call the hotline 227-8683 extension 215 and we will direct you to the nearest treatment centre in your region. If you were on treatment before but stopped taking it please visit your treatment centre to restart your treatment,” Dr. Moore was quoted by DPI as saying.

She underscored that HIV attacks and weakens the human system making it difficult to fight off flu-like infections, more so COVID-19.

It was also disclosed that NAPS has a food bank to assist persons who are unable to stay on a balanced diet while receiving treatment for HIV.

As such, Dr. Moore said the secretariat is prepared to work with the treatment site where these persons receive treatment to ensure they are supplied with food hampers.

Additionally, the doctor said that those living with HIV must protect themselves by following the guidelines implemented to protect the local population for transmission of the coronavirus.

Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence stated that as of April 21, 2020, there were 67 confirmed cases, ten of whom have recovered with seven who have died. To date, 348 persons were tested and 281 of those tests returned negative.