People living with HIV/Aids urged to be fully vaccinated

THE National Aids Council (NAC) has implored people living with HIV to get fully vaccinated against the ravaging Covid-19 pandemic as it was noble for their wellbeing.

This comes as global health experts have indicated that people living with HIV who have low CD4 count and high viral load are at high risk of Covid-19 infection.

Speaking during a virtual music campaign to end Aids recently, NAC chief executive officer Bernard Madzima said it was important for people living with HIV to be vaccinated.

“The Covid-19 vaccines do not have any known side effects for people with HIV. People living with HIV should get fully vaccinated, that is getting the full jabs.

“When fully vaccinated, one will not have any major Covid-19 implications. Just like HIV, Covid-19 can be managed and prevented by our behaviour.

“I encourage early health seeking behaviour to both Covid-19 and HIV infections. Our public health centres are open. People living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy can collect their medication to last them for three months. Prevention is better than cure,” Madzima said.

He also said Zimbabwe was daily losing a lot of people and many are becoming infected with Covid-19 and HIV.

“When the HIV pandemic started we lost a lot of our beloved ones. With time, scientifically proven ways of HIV prevention and management were discovered.

“It is the same way with Covid-19. We now have scientifically proven ways of preventing and managing it which are correct and consistent use of face masks when in public, sanitising or washing of hands and maintaining social distancing and more importantly, vaccination,” said Madzima.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to prioritise people living with HIV for Covid-19 vaccination.

According to a study carried out by WHO, people living with HIV are 13 percent likely to be admitted to hospital with severe or critical Covid-19.

After going into hospital, they are 30 percent more likely to die than similar HIV negative people.

“Therefore, all people living with HIV should be prioritised for early vaccination. And people with HIV with co-morbidities such as chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease and liver disease should be prioritized for early vaccination and management of their co-morbidities,” the WHO in a recent report.