Covid-19 positive PLWHA told to continue with medication

By Hazvinei Mwanaka  

People living with HIV/Aids must continue taking their anti-retroviral medication even after testing Covid-19 positive, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official has said.

Mkhokheli  Ngwenya, a WHO Zimbabwe technical officer, said studies were still ongoing on how Covid-19 affected people living with HIV/Aids (PLWHA).

“PLWHA should continue to take their medicine,” Ngwenya said.

“In the event of difficulties in accessing their treatment, they should discuss with their pharmacists or health care provider options for alternative access or delivery options.

“If a person living with HIV develops Covid-19 and if hospitalisation is not necessary, they should manage their Covid-19 symptoms at home, with supportive care for symptomatic relief.”

He said PLWHA must maintain close contacts with their health care providers and report if they develop fever that lasts for more than two days, which is accompanied by shortness of breath. 

Ngwenya said patients and caregivers should be aware of warning signs and symptoms that warrant in person evaluation, such as difficulty in breathing, chest pain/tightness, confusion, or other mental status changes. 

“PLWHA should continue to be cautious and pay attention to the prevention measures and recommendations,” Ngwenya said.

“It is also important that PLWHIV have multi month refills of their HIV medicines.”

There are approximately 1.2 million people aged between 15 and 64 years, who are living with HIV in Zimbabwe.

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