As our city and the rest of the country continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia remains committed to improving the lives of people living with HIV and reducing the number new HIV infections. Knowing your HIV status and getting connected to HIV care or PrEP can keep you and your partners healthy and safe during this challenging time.

Staying healthy with HIV

Today, HIV is a virus that can be treated with antiretroviral medicines that fight to keep the amount of HIV in the blood low. People with HIV who take medicine every day can expect to live a long, productive, healthy life that includes sex, relationships, and family. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a 90-day supply of HIV medicines to help you maintain physical distancing.

For people living with HIV and other chronic health conditions, it is important to stay as healthy as possible. While we have no specific information about the risk of COVID-19 in people with HIV, a weakened immune system can make you more vulnerable to getting sick, including with COVID-19. Taking HIV medicines can help keeps your immune system strong. Plus, if you get and keep an undetectable viral load you cannot pass HIV on to your sexual partners, or to your baby if you’re pregnant.

In Philadelphia, you have the right to HIV treatment. You can access care and medicines regardless of your insurance status, ability to pay, or immigration or legal stay. We are here to help you find a doctor and fill antiretroviral prescriptions. Call the Health Information Helpline at (215) 985-2437 to speak with someone today.

Staying HIV-negative

For individuals who are HIV negative, PrEP is a safe, effective daily pill that can keep you HIV negative. Find a sex-friendly doctor and learn more about PrEP.

If you already take PrEP to prevent HIV and don’t have any new health concerns, your visits can probably be delayed or happen over a phone call or telemedicine visit. Ask your doctor about the best ways to stay on PrEP during the Stay-at-Home Order. If you choose to stop your PrEP because you’re staying home and avoiding sex, talk with your doctor to make a plan for restarting that works for you.

Are you interested in getting an HIV test but trying to avoid crowds? The Health Department will now send an easy to use HIV test kit to your home, at no cost to you.

What HIV resources are available during COVID-19?

COVID-19 is affecting all our lives. This includes sex. The Health Department encourages everyone to physically distance themselves from others and minimize contact with others outside your home to slow the spread of COVID-19. We also recognize the importance of sex for many people, and that some people may continue to have sex with others outside their household.  Be sure to read our post about sex during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More HIV information is available at Philly, Keep on Loving. You can also call (215) 985-2437 to speak to one of our trained staff about HIV testing, HIV treatment, and HIV prevention options.