HIV and COVID-19: i-Base articles and links

graphic of green coronavirus with a red heart either sideSimon Collins, HIV i-Base

This page links to i-Base articles and posts about the new coronavirus and COVID-19.


The pandemic generated huge social, economic, and medical responses to this global health crisis.

But just as vaccines were providing stability for some countries to plan a return to normal, the Omicron variant showed how rapidly everything could change again.

The early progress on treatments generally only worked in advanced disease although at the end of 2021, molnupiravir (Lagevrio) and nirmatrelvir (Paxlovid) were approved in early infection. Both need to be used within 305 days of firs confirmed symptoms – and both have extremely limited access.

Four vaccines are now authorised and being used in Europe and the US. Others have been approved by the WHO, including from Russia, India and China and these are being used globally, although based on less published data.

But global vaccine access is appallingly unequal. While the UK establishes a national booster programme, many low income countries in Africa and Asia have scarcely vaccinated more that 20% of their populations with a single shot.

Even with different levels of evidence for each vaccine in term of how well they work, all vaccines authorised in the UK are highly effective. They are all very safe.

The timeline to be vaccinated in the UK depended on background risk. By 20 December 2021 more than 90% of people age 12 and older have had at least one dose and 83% have had two doses. Approximately 56% have had a third dose.

Even though vaccines will steadily reduce transmission and mortality, it is still important to be careful at reducing risk to yourself and others.

Although still based on limited evidence, HIV independently increases the risk for severe COVID-19. In the largest studies, this risk is increased in people with a low CD4 count or detectable viral load. This means you need to be more careful (see first Q below).

Lockdown and guidelines for isolation can be difficult for HIV care and sexual health. This is both for people living with HIV and for the health workers who provide front-line care.

Even when lockdown is reduced it is important to still be careful. Even if you have had both vaccine doses. For example, wearing a mask for as long as this is still recommended on public transport and in public buildings. Hand-washing and physical distancing are still important.

Although these guidelines are for each country in the UK – the risks will vary depending on local rates of infection. Please continue to be as safe as you can.

i-Base reports on COVID-19 in two main ways: non-technical Q&As and more technical reports in HTB. Both will continue to be linked below as they become available.

Q&A posts and non-technical links

HIV, PrEP, COVID-19 & Sex – What you need to know
Easy to read Q&As about HIV, sex and the new coronavirus – from HIV Scotland.

PrEP and coronavirus: what you need to know
Easy to read Q&As about PrEP – from HIV Scotland.

Sex and COVID-19 (PDF)
This information from NYC includes positive information about how to manage a safer approach to sex during the coronavirus health crisis. It covers the safety of sex with yourself and of virtual sex including if your job currently includes sex work.

HTB articles and medical links

HTB 10 and HIV and COVID-19 – (31 October 2021)

This issue leads with first reports from the 18th EACS hybrid conference, hosted in London. Other HIV news includes injectable ART approved in Scotland, results of the ANCHOR study for anal cancer screening, BHIVA guidelines for HIV-2 and explaining HIV remission/cure.

Plus news on COVID-19 and vaccines.

Previous issues: 2021

HTB 9 and HIV and COVID-19 – (17 September 2021)

This issue continues reports from the IAS 2021 conference and the 11th International Paediatric Workshop. It also includes the 2021 pipeline reviews of the next generation of HIV drugs. Plus Richard Jefferys review of the Imbokodo HIV vaccine study.

And an i-Base project with Modern ART for South Africa to produce resources on COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 covers third vaccine doses in HIV positive people plus diverse news on many other aspect of vaccine research.

HTB 8 and HIV and COVID-19 – (1 August 2021)

This issue contains first reports from the IAS 2021 conference and the 11th International Paediatric Workshop. These focus on the latest HIV drugs and pipeline compounds.

The reports on COVID-19 include discussions on need for a third vaccine in come people and other vaccine developments. Treatment news includes inhaled budesonide, ivermection and azithromycin – plus other news…

HTB 7 and HIV and COVID-19 – (1 July 2021)

This issue contains HTB reports on vertical transmission in the UK, submission of lenacapavir to the FDA and updated US guidelines.

The reports on COVID-19 include using a third vaccine dose and toficitinib and REGN bNAbs as treatment; plus resources on Long COVID and more…

HTB 6 and HIV and COVID-19 – (1 June 2021)

This issue contains continued reports from both the excellent BHIVA/BASHH conference and CROI.

Plus 15 reports on COVID-19 – because the pace or research still makes this coverage important. This includes the new issue of how well vaccines work in people with reduced immune systems – for which there is little direct data.

HTB 5 and HIV and COVID-19 – (3 May 2021)

This issue includes an article to remember UK activist Paul Decle and first reports from the 5th BHIVA/BASHH conference including two important studies reporting HIV is an independent risk for worse COVID-19 outcomes. Other HIV news includes UK cutting funding to UNAIDS and the release of new NICE pain management guidelines.

The issue includes another 12 reports covering different aspects of COVID-19, including many that cover issues of vaccine efficacy and safety.

  • Contents online (html pages)
  • HTB 5 and COVID-19 – 3 May 2021 – 1 column – (1.2 MB PDF) – TO COME

HTB 4 and HIV and COVID-19 – (1 April 2021)

This issue includes second reports from the CROI 2021 virtual conference, including lenacapavir, pregnancy and weight outcomes from dolutegravir and TAF and important results from research into treatments for COVID-19. Plus news from BHIVA on COVID-19 including vaccines.

HTB 3 and HIV and COVID-19 – (12 March 2021)

This issue includes early reports from the CROI 2021 virtual conference, including new HIV drugs in development, the NADIA study, a revised understanding of the HIV life cycle and important results from research into treatments for COVID-19.

HTB 2 and HIV and COVID-19 – (24 February 2021)

This issue remembers two activists, Elias Phiri and Dr Joseph Sonnabend, and links to a virtual memorial for Timothy Ray Brown.
We include three reports from the R4P HIV prevention conference including the long-awaited results from the AMP studies.
i-Base news includes murals from Soweto on TLD.
COVID-19 news is also significant this issue, with nine reports linked to vaccines and four to new treatment. Also that COVID-19 cases in African might be vastly underestimated and that the B.1.1.7 variant in the UK more pathogenic as well as being easier to transmit.

HTB 1 and HIV and COVID-19 – (22 January 2021)

This first issue of 2021 includes important news about new HIV drug approvals, an important report about drug resistance to first-line ART in South Africa, plus latest UK figures on LGV, and on sexual health during COVID-19.
Plus numerously reports on rapidly changing news relating to vaccine and treatment for COVID-19. This include promising news about new treatments, including colcochine, IV methylprednisolone, dual monoclonal antibody combinations and IL-6 antagonists (tocilizumab).

Previous issues: 2020

HTB 13/14 and HIV and COVID-19 no 10 – (9 December 2020)

HTB news in this issue includes access to paediatric dolutegravir, and drug resistance in Malawi. Coverage of COVID-19 includes important updates on vaccine research and access for HIV positive people in the UK plus disappointing results from the WHO SOLIDARITY and Barcelona PEP studies – questioning the use of HCQ or LOP/r as treatment in early infection.

Previous issues

HTB 12 and HIV and COVID-19 no 9 – (11 November 2020)

This issue includes reports from three medical conferences plus the new statistics from Public Health England showing that HIV infections continued to fall during 2019. Also, that cabotegravir LA/rilpivirine LA injections will be approved in the EU. Coverage of COVID-19 includes the already widely known news about the early efficacy results of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and less optimistic results from using monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as treatment.
Contents online.(html pages)
HTB 12 & HIV and COVID-19 no 9 – 11 Nov 2020 – 1 column – (PDF)

HTB and HIV and COVID-19 no 8 – (October/September 2020)
Another double issue (September and October) combines HTB reports from HIV Glasgow 2020 with the supplement on COVID-19. HIV news includes pipeline drugs, weight gain, PEP guidelines and cure research. COVID-19 news includes new studies on HIV coinfection, tocilizumab, reinfections plus other news.
Contents online.(html pages)
HIV and COVID-19 no 8 – 14 Oct 2020 – 1 column – (PDF)

HTB and HIV and COVID-19 no 7 – (28 August 2020)
Double issue combines HTB reports from AIDS 2020 with the supplement on COVID-19. HIV news includes weight gain and integrase inhibitors, FDA and EMA announcements, video links and concern over proposal to end Public Health England (PHE). COVID-19 news includes two UK studies on HIV coinfection, treatment updates on tocilizumab and famotidine, plus vaccine news.
Contents online.(html pages)
HIV and COVID-19 no 7 – 28 August 2020 – (PDF)

HIV and COVID-19 no 6 – (22 July 2020)
This extended issue – 40 pages – combines HTB (which has first reports from the AIDS 2020 conference) with the supplement on COVID-19. Important COVID-19 news includes more studies on HIV coinfection, new drug approval (and failed studies), impact of race/ethnicity and more.
Contents online (html pages)
HIV and COVID-19 no 6 – 22 July 2020 – (PDF)

HIV and COVID-19 no 5 – (26 June 2020)
HIV and COVID-19 coinfections including data from South Africa, dexamethone effective in advanced COVID-19, hydroxycholoquine not effective in UK RECOVERY study, plus updates on remdesisivr and other treatments…
Contents online (html pages)
HIV and COVID-19 no 5 – 26 June 2020 (PDF)

HIV and COVID-19 no 4 – (1 June 2020)
HIV and COVID-19 coinfections, UK access to remdesivir, convalescent plasma, interferon, famotidine, tocilizumab, concern with hydroxychloroquine, UK research plus more…
Contents online (html pages)
Download: HIV and COVID-19 issue 4 (PDF)

HIV and COVID-19 no 3 – (14 May 2020)
Latest issue includes news on latest treatments, including US approval of remdesivir, plus tentative results with other drugs that reduce immune inflammation (anakinra) – perhaps as essential as antivirals – anticoagulants, ACE inhibitors. Plus latest guidelines.
Contents online (html pages)
Download: HIV and COVID-19 issue 3 (PDF)

HIV and COVID-19: no 2 – (17 April 2020)
The second supplement of HTB with more than 30 COVID-19 reports: hydroxychloroquine studies, antivirals, transmission and prevention research, online resources.
Contents online (html pages)
Download: HIV and COVID-19 issue 2 (PDF)

HIV and COVID-2019: no 1 – (27 March 2020)
This 20-page HTB supplement compiles links to articles and resources about COVID-19 including information for managing the care of HIV positive people. It includes short reviews of key studies and early guidelines.
Contents online. (html pages)
Download: HIV and COVID-19 issue

US interim guidelines on COVID-19 and HIV

British HIV Association (BHIVA) statements on COVID-19

Public Health England (PHE) information on distancing
Guidance for everyone in the UK including HIV positive people on ART

PHE information on shielding
Guidance for people who are extremely vulnerable, including HIV positive people with a low CD4 count (less than 50 cells/mm3).

Information from World Health Organisation (WHO)

Future medical conferences and meetings
This HTB link will update information about HIV conferences, many of which have already been cancelled or rescheduled.

This page was first posted on 10 April. It has been updated several times in each month since with this current update on 1 November 2021.