Advice and information about the Corona virus

How does Corona spread, and how do we prevent transmission? What are the symptoms? What do I do if I suspect infection?

scheduleOppdatert: 22.03.2020

createForfatter: Bente Bendiksen

labelEmner:

The Corona virus (Covid-19) is a virus that can give you a respiratory infection. The virus transmits mostly from person-to-person, through contact with another person or through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has some general advice to prevent infection. Good cough etiquette and good hand hygiene are important preventative measures. Limit shaking hands, kissing and hugging – this can reduce transmission. Keep at least 1 meters distance to other people, both those apparently healthy and those who are coughing and sneezing, when possible. This includes limiting the number of people you are in close contact with, and visit with, to just a few at the time.

There is at the moment no vaccine for this virus. Therefore it is important to act according to the preventative advice of The Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Symptoms

The symptoms are cough, fever, soar throat, chest pains and difficulty breathing. Some do not experience any symptoms at all. Many experience mild disease; others experience serious disease and possible death.

These symptoms are the same as other respiratory infections such as the regular seasonal flu.

Do you suspect infection? Call your doctor.

If you have these symptoms and have been in an area where the spread of Corona is enduring, or have been in close contact with another person who has a confirmed Covid-19 diagnosis the last 14 days, please call your general practitioner. Do not go to your doctor’s office without appointment, but call them.

To prevent further transmission, please contact your general practitioner if you suspect that you have been infected. If you cannot reach your doctor you can call the emergency room at 116 117.

If you have been outside the country in the last 14 days, you should stay at home for 14 days (home quarantine). This does not apply to Sweden and Finland. This also applies if you have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed infection even if you are not showing any symptoms. Please confer with your doctor if this is the case.

Corona and HIV

It is the same department in hospital that treats both HIV and Covid-19, this department is therefore very busy these days. Everyone living with HIV can rest assure that they will receive the necessary treatment, renewal of prescriptions etc. The outpatient clinic at Ullevål University Hospital has implemented digital solutions for their patients living with HIV. HivNorway is in regular contact with the department and will regularly post new information on our website.

People who have recently been diagnosed with HIV and are awaiting test results from Ullevål sykehus will be followed up as soon as their results are available.

A small number of people living with HIV have continuously low CD4 numbers, and can have a suppressed immune system, which makes them more vulnerable for respiratory infections. HivNorway have been contacted repeatedly with questions about HIV being one of the groups especially at risk. The Department for infectious diseases at Ullevål answers as follows:

HIV is at the 17th of March 2020 not defined as a special risk to get infected by or get a serious infection by Covid-19.

It is assumed that people with very low CD4-numbers (below 200) will be vulnerable to Covid-19 infection. If this applies to you please take extra care in adhering to the advice of The Institute for Public Health’s advice to avoid infection.

These are the at risk groups:

·      Age over 65 years

·      Heart and coronary disease

·      Respiratory disease

·      High blood-pressure

·      It is possible that smoking gives an extra vulnerability for infection.

A lot is still uncertain. The Norwegian Institute for Public Health continuously updates this website with information about and for groups at risk.

It is not necessary to disclose your HIV status to your employee or others in connection with a potential infection if you do not want to.

Here you can read the Norwegian Institute for Public Health’s general advice for the population about corona and the situation in Norway. If you have a fever, or respiratory issues, call your general practioner. It is important that you do not go directly to your doctor’s office without an appointment. Call the emergency room at 116 117 outside office hours.

Treating Covid-19 with HIV medication

Trials are now being conducted were Covid-19 is treated with HIV medication. People living with HIV no longer commonly use the types of medication used in these trials. The Health Authorities assures us that these trials will in no way impact people living with HIVs access to their medication.

There is also no information that suggest that people living with HIV cannot be infected by COvid-19 or be a carrier of the virus because of their HIV treatment.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine

At risk groups have been recommended to take a vaccine against pneumonia caused by the pneumococcal bacteria. There is no relation to the Corona virus, but will assist health services by reducing the number of cases of this pneumonia needing treatment.

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is offered to everyone living with HIV at their initial controls with their infectious disease specialist. That means that most already have been offered this vaccine. There is now a shortage of the vaccine, and it will only be offered to people whom have not taken the vaccine, and are part of the risk groups.

The outpatient clinic at OUS is now offering the vaccine to all their patients who have never taken it and is over the age of 65 years.

Extraordinary measure from the authorities

To prevent further transmission of the virus the authorities have implemented extraordinary measures. There are frequent changes in these measures, and the population is encouraged to keep themselves oriented.

If you have other questions or need to talk with someone, please contact us at +47 21 31 45 80 or +47 920 16 892, through social media or by mail post@hivnorge.no.

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