Latest Update:  Monday 23 September 2022

Latest Information

NEW: From 21 September, you don’t need to wear a mask in cruise terminals, transport waiting areas or on public transport. You still must wear a mask in some settings, however. Visit the Face mask rules page for more information.

NEW: From 9 September, regulations on self-isolation change. If you no longer have symptoms, you may be able to leave self-isolation 5 days after your positive test. Find new self-isolation rules on Testing positive to COVID-19.

There are two oral COVID-19 antivirals available on the PBS in Australia.  Nirmatrelvir in combination with ritanovir (sold as Paxlovid) and molnupiravir (sold as Lagevrio).  There are no known drug interactions identified with Lagevrio based on the limited data that is currently available. There are a number of potential complex and serious drug–drug interactions identified with Paxlovid that can result in severe or life-threatening side effects, or reduce the drugs’ effectiveness against COVID-19. These include the HIV antiretroviral medicines, Atazanavir, Darunavir, Efavirenz, Fosamprenavir, Maraviroc, Nevirapine, Saquinavir, Tipranavir, Raltegravir, Zidovudine, and Bictegravir/Emtricitabine/Tenofovir (Biktarvy).

COVID-19 and the flu

It is safe and convenient to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time. It’s recommended to get an additional COVID-19 booster dose (or ‘winter booster’) for anyone at higher risk of serious illness.

COVID-19 and people living with HIV

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that people living with HIV are at greater risk of acquiring COVID-19. The main risk factors to date are older age and co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and lung disease.  Most people living with HIV are not immunocompromised, unless we are taking immunosuppressive therapy (e.g. for a kidney, lung or liver transplant) or other cancer treatments, not taking any HIV antiretroviral medication or have a CD4 count below 200 cells/mL.

Get support from a Positive Life Peer

Positive Life offers peer support by other people living with HIV for all people living with HIV in NSW, who want support and evidence-based information about the COVID-19 vaccine.  We are also available to support you to explore your options around eligibility, vaccine access, disclosure or clinic availability.

If you have any concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines, or experience any barriers accessing a COVID-19 vaccine please call us on (02) 8357 8386, 1800 245 677 (freecall outside metro) or email contact@positivelife.org.au

Check if your question is answered in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). You are welcome to subscribe to our email notices to be informed of information, initiatives and activities.

COVID-19 Basics

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you’re out and about, an alcohol-based hand liquid can be a useful alternative.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes by using your elbow or a tissue that should be discarded immediately, and wash your hands.
  • Try to avoid touching your face as this may transfer organisms to your mouth, nose or eyes from surfaces you may have touched. On average we touch our faces about 200 times a day.
  • Continue to use physical distancing, that is maintaining a distance of 1.5 meters between you and the next person
  • Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
  • Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
  • If you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, self-isolate and seek a test.
  • Talk with your doctor about staying up-to-date with your vaccinations and getting your annual flu shot in March or April. The vaccinations that are offered through chemists are not free so you will need to see your GP or Sexual Health Clinic if you want it free of charge.
  • If you are unwell, stay at home and ring Health Direct (1800 022 222), or your local Emergency Department or your GP, for further information.

COVID-19 Vaccines

Eligibility

Want some help booking your COVID-19 vaccine? Text ‘Hey EVA’ to 0481 611 382 and you’ll get a trained operator from the National Coronavirus Helpline who will help book your COVID-19 vaccination. 7am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

Vaccination appointments are available at more than 3000 locations across NSW including pharmacies, GPs and NSW Health clinics. Find the next available appointment at a location near you. You do not need to disclose your HIV status to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

All COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia regardless of your Medicare or visa status. You can get proof of your COVID-19 vaccination whether you have a Medicare card or not

Vaccine providers cannot charge you for the COVID-19 vaccine or for your appointments to receive the vaccine. If you are charged for any costs associated with the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination (including booking fees), contact the Department of Health by emailing provider.benefits.integrity@health.gov.au, or by calling the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808 (9am to 5pm AEST weekdays).

Boosters

Boosters are available for people, aged 18 and older who received their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine six months or more ago. The phrase ‘fully vaccinated’ has changed to ‘up to date’.

The latest ATAGI advice based on current evidence, considers people with risk factors for severe COVID-19 are individuals aged 50 years and older, people with underlying medical conditions, residents of aged care and disability facilities, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults and/or those at increased occupational risk of COVID-19.
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