Vaccination against COVID-19 vs HIV / AIDS

COVID-19 vaccination is actively carried out in the world, including among people living with HIV. Infectious Diseases Practitioner Lyudmyla Kolomiychuk provided answers to popular questions about COVID-19 vaccination for PLHIV.

Should people living with HIV be vaccinated against COVID-19?

 

Vaccination is important and necessary for everyone and the presence of HIV infection in this case is not a contraindication to vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines bring the same benefits to people living with HIV as to all people without HIV, such as: prevention of severe COVID-19 and the potential for reduced transmission. Vaccination is contraindicated only if there is a high probability of acute allergic reactions.

What do people living with HIV need to know before being vaccinated against COVID-19?

The likelihood of a proper immune response to COVID-19 in people living with HIV depends on the level of their CD-4 cells and viral load. For people living with HIV who have less than 200 CD-4 cells, the likelihood of a proper immune response may be much lower and I, as a doctor, would recommend vaccination with a "non-live" / inactivated vaccine (eg: CoronaVac manufactured by Sinovac Biotech Ltd). However, it should be noted that low CD-4 cell counts are not a contraindication to vaccination.

Which vaccine is better to choose?

The vaccine that is available should be vaccinated. We cannot recommend a single vaccine, as all currently available vaccines in Ukraine have undergone appropriate clinical trials and are safe for the general population. There were no specific adverse reactions to vaccination with any vaccine available in Ukraine among people living with HIV.

Do antiretroviral drugs interact with vaccines?

To date, there is no evidence that antiretroviral drugs increase or worsen the response to the vaccine.

What do people living with HIV need to have in their home medicine cabinet if they have acute side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination?

The effects of vaccines on people living with HIV are still being studied. Adverse reactions after vaccination in people living with HIV do not differ from the general population and in particular may be as follows:

  • pain and swelling at the injection site;
  • general fatigue and headache;
  • fever or chills.

Usually all these side effects do not last longer than a few days. I recommend my patients to have the following remedies in their home medicine cabinet:

  • At high temperature: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (For example: Nimesil, Ibuprofen, etc.).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Keep Aspirin Cardio with you to prevent disseminated intravascular coagulation syndrome.
  • In case of minor allergic reactions use Suprastin.

Be sure to discuss all of the above medications and recommendations with your doctor and do not self-medicate!

 

Viral hepatitis A, B, C, D and E: how to be tested and what to do next?

Hepatitis is a disease of the liver, usually of viral origin. It develops due to hepatitis virus. There are five main types: A, B, C, D and E. All types of viruses cause liver disease, but there is a significant difference between them.

Hepatitis A and E are transmitted by fecal-oral route, during the consumption of infected food or water. And hepatitis B, C, D - through damaged skin or mucous membranes during contact. In particular, it can occur during blood transfusions, medical manipulations, mother-to-child transmission, sexual intercourse, injecting or intranasal or domestic use (eg when a person uses a razor blade or toothbrush after an infected person ).

To protect against hepatitis, it is important to follow the same prevention as for other viral diseases: wash your hands, eat washed and/or cooked foods, have personal hygiene products, use barrier contraception, and so on.

Among viral hepatitis, the most dangerous are viral hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV), which account for 96% of all viral hepatitis-related deaths. That is why preventive measures are important. These include testing.

Periodic testing for viral hepatitis should be the rule. First of all, you should contact a family doctor, who can conduct a quick test and in case of a positive result refer you to a specialist.

The best and most effective way to prevent hepatitis B virus infection is to vaccinate with three doses of the vaccine. Hepatitis B vaccination is included in the National Vaccination Calendar. According to the National Vaccination Calendar, a child should receive the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine during the first day of life, the second at 2 months, and the third at 6 months.

Because viral hepatitis D develops only in patients with viral hepatitis B, triple vaccination also prevents the risk of becoming infected with viral hepatitis D.

There is no vaccine against hepatitis C.

This year, the Ministry of Health has adopted new Standards for the care of adults and children with viral hepatitis B and C. They will significantly expand patients' access to treatment for these infections. Specific treatment of viral hepatitis A and D does not exist, but it is important that they are curable. Treatment of viral hepatitis B for life - a person takes antiviral drugs daily. Timely and regular medication suppresses and inhibits the development of the virus and prevents the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis C is usually treated within 12 weeks (sometimes the course of treatment can last up to 24 weeks). Modern drugs are safe and effective, cause almost no side effects and have an efficiency of about 90%.

In Ukraine, effective drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus are purchased at the expense of the state budget.

Knowledge saves lives: training for servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine took place in Volodymyr-Volynskyi

On July 16 in Volodymyr-Volynskyi with the participation of servicemen of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was held a training "HIV/AIDS, rights and responsibilities of HIV-infected people, stigma and discrimination", organized and conducted with the assistance of the International Institute of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis ”together with the Department of Civil-Military Cooperation of the Land Forces Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

The main purpose of the event was to increase the level of knowledge of servicemen on HIV / AIDS and reduce the risk of spreading the disease among military personnel.

Experts who have been working for many years in the field of combating the spread of HIV / AIDS in Ukraine, including Natalia Kozhan, a lecturer at the PL Shupik National University of Health of Ukraine, and Serhiy Dmytriyev, a military chaplain, were involved in the training.

The issues of the HIV / AIDS epidemic situation in Ukraine and among servicemen were considered during the classes; ways of HIV / AIDS transmission; rights and responsibilities of HIV-infected people; stigma and discrimination, as well as their prevention; spiritual support for HIV-infected servicemen and more.

For reference: the event was implemented within the PEPFAR project "HIV / AIDS Prevention in the Armed Forces of Ukraine: testing and counseling, reducing the risk of infection on the battlefield."

The UN hopes to combat HIV / AIDS by 2030

The head of the UN AIDS program has expressed cautious optimism that the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), will be overcome by 2030.

According to UNAIDS Managing Director Winnie Bianima, her agency is asking governments to focus on inequalities that prevent people from accessing the services they need. "If they can close these gaps for specific high-risk groups, we will be able to put an end to AIDS by 2030," she said.

Bianima called on countries to pursue the same political will in the fight against AIDS as against COVID-19, and called the fight against AIDS "an unfinished business."

Almost 40 years ago, on June 5, 1981, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported a mysterious immunodeficiency disease. Since then, nearly 35 million people have died from AIDS complications.

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