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COVID-19 Raises Concerns for People Living with HIV

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AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod

Recent research shows people living with HIV are more vulnerable to illness and death from COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean they’re contracting the coronavirus in higher numbers, according to Dan Gates, CEO of the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.

Gates told CAI that local people who are taking antiretroviral medication for HIV seem to be weathering the pandemic well and often have strong immune systems.

Despite the COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown — more than 880 cases to date — he said he’s not aware of any HIV-positive people who are part of the outbreak.

“Above 95 percent of the people living with HIV in P-town have what's called a suppressed viral load,” he said, “which means they have a very — usually a very healthy immune system, and they have very little HIV virus in their blood.”

His clients have been careful about exposure to COVID-19, and most were eager to get the vaccine, he said.

Gates said they know the value of vaccines because they’ve been waiting 40 years to see one for HIV.