Q and A

Question

Why is the NHS texting HIV positive people to stay at home?

Hi, do you know why I received a text message today telling me to stay at home (see attached). I don’t have any other health problems other than HIV, but I am undetectable on treatment with a good CD4 count.

Answer

Example of text message sent in error

Example of text message sent in error

Hi

Thanks for your message which has worried a lot of people living with HIV today.

If HIV is your only ongoing medical condition, it is likely to be because being HIV positive is a reason to receive the seasonal flu vaccine. Apparently, this alert was sent to all people who are in this category.

This message was meant for people defined as “extremely vulnerable”.

For HIV positive people who don’t have any other underlying health concerns, it only applies if your CD4 count is less than 50 cells/mm3.

This is very different to having a viral load less than 50 copies/mL (which is a good thing because it means your treatment is working).

Several times during the COVID-19 response, different health authorities have included HIV-related information that is different to that given by HIV experts.

The British HIV Association (BHIVA) also posted a statement about these text message alerts.
https://www.bhiva.org/recent-text-message-re-shielding-sent-in-error-to-people-with-HIV

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