COVID-19 is still being studied around the world. However, based on the results of studies with people living with HIV (PLHIV), the risk of COVID-19 infection among PLHIV is higher than in the general population. In addition, there is growing evidence that PLHIV infected with COVID-19 are at increased risk of severe disease.
The July 2021 WHO report states that HIV is an independent risk factor for serious illness during hospitalization and nosocomial mortality. People with severe immunodeficiency who do not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) and / or low CD4 levels (less than 200 cells / μl) are particularly at increased risk of infection and severe COVID-19.
Vaccination is required to prevent infection and complications of COVID-19. PLHIV are no exception, but should be included in the higher priority group for vaccination. All COVID-19 vaccines used in Ukraine (AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, CoronaVac) are listed by the WHO and are safe for PLHIV.
This conclusion is based on available data obtained after clinical trials. None of these vaccines are "live". There is no reason to expect that these vaccines will be less safe for people with weakened immune systems. COVID-19 vaccines have passed the same safety tests as all other vaccines against infectious diseases and meet strict scientific standards.
PLHIV have also been included in clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. According to the results of these studies, no data on the higher level and severity of adverse reactions compared to the general population were obtained. This indicates the safety of their use among PLHIV.
PLHIV can be vaccinated against COVID-19 regardless of CD4 lymphocyte levels or viral load. It is particularly important to receive COVID-19 vaccination in patients with a CD4 cell count of 200 cells / μl and below, as well as in patients who have been taking ART for less than 6 months or who have not received ART at all. Vaccination is indicated for all PLHIV, regardless of the clinical stage of HIV infection.
Current recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine (SMFM) state that pregnant HIV-infected women who have no contraindications to vaccination for comorbidities other than HIV infection should not refuse vaccination against COVID-19