COVID-19 advice from the British HIV Association (BHIVA)

posted by: Don Leslie

updated 21st October 2021

BHIVA advice on the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for people living with HIV is now available here.

The easing of restrictions should not encourage people to stop adhering to recommendations on social distancing. Please keep up-to-date with the advice via GOV.UK channels (as below). We advise that people living with HIV (PLWH) should continue to follow Government advice regarding hand washing, distancing and face coverings.

We still do not have enough evidence yet on whether HIV affects risk of harm from COVID-19. So far, there have been only a few large cohort studies examining the impact of COVID-19 for people living with HIV, and the majority of these studies include only a small number of patients. Whilst some studies report a higher risk of COVID-19 related death for people living with HIV, others do not. Any increased risk is relatively small and no analysis has fully adjusted for potential confounders, such as kidney disease, diabetes or obesity, which might affect the results. We need more information to better understand your risks; this will come in the future.

Please note that there is no evidence to date that antiretrovirals, as HIV treatment or as PrEP, have any potential for treating coronavirus.

If you are concerned please contact  your nearest Devon sexual health clinic for advice.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

We have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

Despite any changes made to COVID risk measures outside of NHS premises our staff, patients and visitors will be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting our clinics, including wearing a face covering. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been requested to self-isolate please do not attend the clinic.

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info