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Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

COVID-19 and HIV

CHIVA has created this page to provide professionals with updated information relating to COVID-19 and HIV. It will be updated as new information and evidence becomes available.

Government guidance

The guidance on social distancing referred to below (24th March update) has been superseded, though the information below may help to determine how current guidance applies to people living with HIV. Rules and recommendations are reviewed regularly and vary between areas. Please consult the latest official information and public health messaging ('Hands. Face. Space'). 

Clinically vulnerable people should be especially careful to follow the rules and guidance, and to minimise contacts with others. This includes:

  • Children and young people with a CD4 count of less than 200, a detectable viral load, or those not on ART
  • Children and young people with other long-term conditions identified in the PHE guidance and also any with severe bronchiectasis (condition affecting the lung airways)
  • Pregnant women living with HIV.

There is further guidance for those defined as extremely clinically vulnerable. This should be followed by/for children and young people living with HIV who have a CD4 count less than 50 or who have had an opportunistic illness within the last 6 months or have one of the conditions listed.


5th May 2020: Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19

Although most children are asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms from COVID-19 infection, a small number have recently been identified who develop a significant systemic inflammatory response. RCPCH has produced guidance for clinicians following expert review of relevant cases. This includes a case definition and approach to clinical management.

Guidance: Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19


24th March 2020: CHIVA statement on COVID-19 and HIV following release of Public Health England (PHE) guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Currently, there is no evidence that people living with HIV who have a good CD4 count and an undetectable viral load are at increased risk from COVID-19 compared to the general population.

The following recommendations for children, young people and families are based on current available evidence and expert opinion and are in accordance with advice for adults from BHIVA.

Children and young people living with HIV who have an undetectable viral load and normal CD4 count and do not have any other long-term health problems should follow guidance for the general population on social distancing.

The following people should follow social distancing advice stringently:

  • Children and young people with a CD4 count of less than 200, a detectable viral load, or those not on ART
  • Children and young people with other long-term conditions identified in the PHE guidance and also any with severe bronchiectasis (condition affecting the lung airways)
  • Pregnant women living with HIV.

Children and young people living with HIV who have a CD4 count less than 50 or who have had an opportunistic illness within the last 6 months should follow the guidance on shielding and protecting for the clinically extremely vulnerable, along with any children and young people who have one of the conditions listed in the guidance. This means staying at home at all times and avoiding any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.

Statement on considerations for critical care for people with HIV during COVID-19

Please refer to the Critical Care Statement considerations for critical care for people with HIV during COVID-19 provided by BHIVA (31st March 2020)

Management of pregnant women living with HIV and infant testing

Please refer to the statement Management of pregnant women living with HIV and infant testing during COVID-19 provided by BHIVA (25th March) 


 Further information and resources: 

For information aimed at a general audience explaining COVID-19, protecting oneself and implications for people living with HIV, we suggest the THT COVID-19 Blog.