Covid and HIV: Which virus is going to kill us?

BY: Roseline Orwa –

When the government in March received 1.02 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, it prioritised essential service providers and people over 58, but left out Kenyans living with HIV and Aids. 

That about 25,000 people in the country die from Aids-related illnesses yearly is a good reason to prioritise this segment of the population in the vaccination drive. Even before Covid-19, people living with HIV and Aids were already fighting another pandemic.

The antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) they take are known to increase co-morbidities such as obesity, poorly controlled diabetes and high blood pressure, factors that increase their risk of contracting Covid-19.

People living with HIV and Aids, mostly widows and girls in remote villages, wonder which of the two viruses will kill them. Even more worrying is the national shortage of lifesaving ARVs.