People with HIV may be more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19. Read ahead to learn more.


About HIV & COVID-19

Are people with HIV at higher risk of COVID-19 than other people?

We are still learning about COVID-19 and how it affects people with HIV. Based on what we know at this time, people with HIV may be more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19.

Other factors can also make you more likely to become severely ill, such as age and certain underlying medical conditions. Older adultspeople with certain medical conditions, and pregnant and recently pregnant people should take preventive actions (including getting vaccinatedwearing a mask, and practicing physical distancing) to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with HIV?

The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines are as safe as possible. People with HIV were included in clinical trialsexternal iconexternal icon. COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same safety tests and met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards needed to support emergency use authorization. On August 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval for Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine for people 16 years and older.

People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.

If you have HIV and are at least 12 years old, you can get vaccinated if you have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients. Learn about what to do if you are allergic to an ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine near you:

  • Visit,
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829, or
  • Call 1-800-232-0233.

Learn more about what CDC and other federal agencies are doing to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.


People who have advanced or untreated HIV may benefit from an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.

If you have advanced or untreated HIV, CDC recommends that you receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after your second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your health care provider to determine if getting an additional dose is right for you.

If you received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine, you do not need an additional dose at this time. Currently, there is not enough data to determine whether receiving a second dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine will provide additional protection against COVID-19.

You should also talk to your health care provider about the benefits of HIV treatment. People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners. In fact, people with HIV who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners.

CDC does not recommend an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for people with HIV who are virally suppressed or who do not have advanced HIV. Talk to your health care provider if you have more questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and to help you decide if you need an additional dose.


Based on what we currently know about COVID-19 vaccines, there is no evidence to suggests potential interactions with ART or PrEP. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines.

Source: CDC

What can people with HIV do to protect themselves from COVID-19?

Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated. If you have HIV and are taking your HIV medicine, it is important to continue your treatment and follow your health care provider’s advice. This is the best way to keep your immune system healthy.

People with HIV can protect themselves from COVID-19 by taking these steps:

  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.

Source: CDC

Weakened Immune System

People who have advanced or untreated HIV may benefit from an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to make sure they have enough protection against COVID-19.

If you have a weakened immune system, you may not be protected even if you are fully vaccinated. After vaccination, you should continue taking all everyday preventive actions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by your health care provider.

People with HIV should also continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle:

Staying healthy helps your immune system fight off infection should it occur. (Source)

"Everyone should be tested for HIV."

Approximately 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV today. But not all of them know it. In fact, about 15 percent (or 1 in 7) of them are not aware they are living with HIV. That means there are approximately 165,000 people in the U.S. who do not know that they are living with HIV. They are not getting the care and treatment that can preserve their health and protect their partners from getting HIV, too.

Getting tested for HIV can be scary. But, HIV is not a death sentence. And, did you know health experts recommend everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care? That’s right! Practically everyone should be tested for HIV.


What should I do if I think I have COVID?

Nearly half of people in the United States with diagnosed HIV are ages 50 and older. People with HIV also have higher rates of certain underlying health conditions. Older age and underlying health conditions can make people with HIV more likely to become seriously ill if they get COVID-19. This is especially true for people with advanced HIV.

Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19. Most vaccinated people have mild illness and can recover at home. If you think you have COVID-19 and have symptoms of illness, you should get tested. It’s important to continue taking your HIV medicine as prescribed. This will help keep your immune system healthy. If you have severe symptoms, seek emergency medical care right away by calling 911. Call ahead to the emergency department and tell the operator that you may have COVID-19.

Learn more about COVID-19 and what to do if you get sick.

Source: CDC

Who is Guiding Right, Inc.?

 Guiding Right, Inc., is the leading Black health organization in Oklahoma. Our mission is to improve access to healthcare, systems and services that improve the quality of life among Black and other marginalized populations in Oklahoma. We offer an array of public health programs and are blessed to see outstanding outcomes! We are here to uplift people and offer support. Please let us know how we can help you.

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GRI’s greatest accomplishment on behalf of the African American community and other vulnterable populations is the support we offer. We are here to help every person we come in contact with. Whether that be community services hours; a paid position with the organization; screening to help someone know their HIV or STI status; linkage to medical care and treatment; assistance finding housing or mitigating a food insecurity, or promoting tobacco cessation, GRI stands ready assist. 


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