HIV Patients Exposed to A Higher Risk of Coronavirus

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus – a deadly virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, better known as AIDS. Transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, HIV/AIDS is one of the main deadly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), although there are other possible ways of transmission. 

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HIV patients in fear for their lives because of the new coronavirus

HIV, as deadly and dangerous as it is, is not uncommon. Back in 2018, there were approximately 37.9 million people affected by HIV around the world. 36.2 million of those were adults and around 1.7 million were children younger than 15 years. 

And it seems that it is Africa where most of the infected population with HIV – both adults and children, live. As of 2014, in Ghana, Africa, alone there have been roughly 150,000 people diagnosed with AIDS, and the assumption is that the numbers are even greater because of the well-known fear that HIV/AIDS is treated within Africa. But what is even more unfortunate is the fact that around 91% of the HIV-infected children live in Africa. 

HIV-positive individuals and AIDS patients are constantly living in fear for their lives because of how fragile their immune system is. And although therapy does help a lot, they are still treated as chronically ill individuals. 

Now, with the new coronavirus outbreak since early December, which first happened in Wuhan, China, it seems that this fear is even greater, and for a good reason, that is. Because of their poor immune system, HIV/AIDS patients are exposed to a higher risk of getting infected with the new coronavirus as compared to the general population.

The problem is that the coronavirus, although it causes flu-like symptoms, is also the cause of many death cases. In fact, as of 27th March, there have been roughly 28,269 deaths due to the coronavirus on a global level. In South Africa, there have been 1,170 infected and only one case of death. In Egypt, there have been around 536 infected and no dead, which is certainly good news. 

Because of their weakened immune system, these individuals are unable to fight off the infection, thus being exposed to a higher risk of not only being affected by it but also being affected by worse complications and possibly even death. That is why any chronically ill patients, including HIV/AIDS patients, are warned against the dangers of coronavirus.

They are advised to stay in self-isolation and practice social distancing as two of the best prevention methods that we know of when it comes to the coronavirus. Awareness has to be raised if we are interested in protecting these and any other chronically ill patients from the deadly coronavirus that does not seem to stop affecting more and more people all around the world, including Africa. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4924471/

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/global-statistics

http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/images/news_release/2019/HIV%20Press%20Release%20-%20GHANA.pdf

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/coronavirus-cases-top-100000-italy-deaths-rise-live-updates-200327231629838.html

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