People with compromised immunity are more susceptible to catching COVID-19, health officials warn. 

Heart disease, diabetes and lung disease patients are at the highest risk of catching Coronavirus, noted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s list of serious chronic medical conditions that put people at a higher risk of catching Coronavirus does not include HIV. 

Steve Pergam is a medical doctor with a master’s in public health. He is on the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division’s staff at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Washington is the epicenter of America’s Coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s all based on a level of immune suppression,” Pergam told POZ Magazine. “For an HIV patient who is on stable antiretroviral therapy and has a normal CD4 count, their risk may be slightly increased. People often lump HIV patients with other immunosuppressed patients, but HIV is a different disease than it was years ago. For people who have a reconstituted immune system because of treatment, I think the risk is not going to be tremendously different.”

Older Americans are at the greatest risk of taking ill from the novel Coronavirus, warned the government. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the average age of death from COVID-19 is 80 and the average age of people seeking medical attention is 60. 

Nearly half of the HIV population is over the age of 50. In his interview with POZ Magazine, Pergam advised people to use hand sanitizer, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, get the flu vaccine and avoid close contact. 

Staying home from work if you are ill is the best practice, health officials urge. Social distancing and self-quarantine have become much debated topics with the virus as has paid sick leave for workers.