COVID Treatments in Scotland: Information for people living with HIV
New treatments for COVID infection are now available in Scotland. Read below to find out if you might be eligible.
More detailed information on these treatments, for people living with HIV across the UK, is available on the BHIVA website https://www.bhiva.org/update-on-COVID-treatments-information-for-people-living-with-HIV
The situation is changing very quickly, so always check NHS Inform for up to date information.
In Scotland, some people are eligible for community COVID treatment with these medications (ie without being admitted to hospital). The medication may be given intravenously (through a vein in your arm) or by mouth (tablets).
You are eligible if:
• You have mild COVID symptoms (i.e. you don't need hospital treatment) AND
• You have a positive COVID test within the last 5 days AND
• You are a member of a high-risk group,
The high risk group includes the following people with HIV:
· Uncontrolled/untreated HIV (not taking antiretroviral therapy (ART – HIV meds or tablets), or taking ART but with a detectable viral load)
· An acute AIDS defining diagnosis (a serious HIV-related illness in the last few months)
· On stable treatment (ART) for HIV with CD4 count less than 350
· Some people who are on stable treatment for HIV with CD4 more than 350 and have additional risk factors (eg age 55 or older, or with other health conditions)
In Scotland, if you are in the high risk group, you will be contacted by your HIV clinic with information on how to access treatment should you need it.
Clinics are currently working hard to identify people who are eligible and to contact people by letter, text, or phone by the first week in January. The clinical teams providing COVID treatments are also in close contact with your HIV clinic team, and in many cases involve the same doctors and nurses. So everything that is possible is being done to ensure people living with HIV have access to the new treatments if they need them.
If you have COVID symptoms and you think that you fall into a high risk group – whether you have received a letter/text/phonecall or not:
· The first step is to get a COVID test as soon as possible. If you have a lateral flow device (LFD) at home, use that. You can check NHS Inform or call 119 to organise a PCR test. If you are eligible for new Coronavirus treatments, you should say you are an essential worker to get a priority PCR test.
· If your test is positive (LFD or PCR test), check NHS Inform for the contact number to access treatment in your Health Board area. You will be assessed by the clinical team to decide whether treatment is right for you.
· Some boards can accept a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result whilst waiting for confirmation of a positive PCR test in certain circumstances. Your LFT test is not complete until you report your result, either online or by phone, and receive a result confirmation notification. You'll still need a PCR test to confirm your positive result.
· Some people who are on the list of high risk patients will not require treatment – that is because the list includes everyone who might need treatment and should be assessed.
For information on third doses of the COVID vaccine and boosters for people living with HIV, please visit the following link: Third doses of the COVID vaccine and boosters for people living with HIV