Health officials: New Yorkers living with HIV less likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Data released by the CDC Thursday with New York City and state health departments found that vaccination rates are even lower when a person with HIV is Black, Native American or Latino.

News 12 Staff

Feb 4, 2022, 1:01 AM

Updated 845 days ago

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As New York City continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials say folks living with an HIV diagnosis are less likely to be vaccinated against the virus. 
It is something Alex Perez says he sees every day as a nurse practitioner at Callen-Lorde Health Center in the south Bronx. 
“People have a lot of stigma, a lot of fear because of past experiences,” said Perez. 
Perez says that these experiences often discourage LGBT people from seeking medical care, such as vaccinations. 
One-quarter of the patients at Callen-Lorde are HIV-positive and a third don’t have insurance. 
“People making fun of them when they say that they’re a trans person, people purposefully calling them by their old name or their death name, people just denying services because of their gender identity,” said Perez. 
Data released by the CDC Thursday with New York City and state health departments found that vaccination rates are even lower when a person with HIV is Black, Native American or Latino. 
Like other marginalized groups, Perez says misinformation about the vaccine is a big problem. 
“Some people living with HIV, they think it might affect their status or their immune system, or they think it might interact with their medication or their hormones,” said Perez. 
Perez says that so far, the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be safe, and it won’t interfere with HIV medicine like Prep.
He added that building trust is the best way to increase vaccinations among those living with HIV. 
“It’s something I see with my patients when I talk to them. If they don’t feel trust and they don’t feel comfortable with the provider, they’re going to avoid coming,” said Perez.


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