While WHO is working with countries to ensure fair and equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, it is important to continue actions to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission and to reduce COVID-19 deaths. Alongside the response to COVID-19, it is critical to maintain access to essential health services. This includes:
- Supporting people living with HIV to continue taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) and adapting services to make this easier and more efficient during the COVID-19 response.
- Continuing to provide HIV prevention and testing services with linkage to ART initiation as a priority.
- Ensuring those who start ART can remain on it to reduce health risks and complications during COVID-19. This must be classified as an essential service, together with prevention, diagnosis and treatment of co-morbidities and co-infections.
- Monitoring all people living with HIV and SARS-CoV-2 infections, especially those with advanced HIV disease or with co-morbidities.
Although there may be an increase in the risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19 among people living with HIV, making sure that people have access to effective ART and other health care they need will help to minimize this risk.
For further information on COVID-19 vaccines and all WHO guidance related to COVID-19 see https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance.