The Ghana AIDS Commission has appealed to persons living with HIV (PLHIV) to adhere to the safety measures spelt out by the Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service to minimise exposure to the COVID-19.

This is because although everyone might be at risk if exposed, persons with weaker immune systems like HIV patients are more likely to get infected.

A statement from the Ghana AIDS Commission, copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said it was, therefore, important to emphasise the need for all PLHIV to adhere to their antiretroviral therapies to boost their immune system.

“The world is awash with news on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its devastating effects. In Ghana, we have seen a steady rise in the number of positive cases being reported, almost daily.

“PLHIV are encouraged to make arrangements with their health care providers for multi-month prescriptions of antiretroviral medicines.    
Older PLHIV with heart or lung conditions may be at a higher risk of becoming infected with the Covid-19 virus and may suffer more serious symptoms,” the statement said.

Currently, the statement noted that there is no evidence of a correlation between HIV and COVID 19, but until more is known about the relationship between the two diseases, PLHIV need to exercise extreme caution to prevent exposure.

The Commission encourages PLHIV to report any symptoms of cough, fever or difficulty in breathing to a medical officer, and endeavour to present their travel history and/or details of persons they might have come into close contact with.

“While urging all to protect themselves and practise safety measures to minimise the impact of Covid-19 in their communities, we wish to remind the public that research on treatment options for COVID-19 is on-going.” 

According to the statement, there is no scientific proof that antiretroviral medicines used for treating HIV are useful for treating the coronavirus disease at this stage of the pandemic, hence, the need for PLHIV to adhere to their antiretroviral regimens.