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.

BHIVA COVID

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

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

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

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

More details on the fitting of LARCs (coils and implants) at our service can be found here

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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

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