Emergencies and HIV/AIDSEmergencies can take many forms. They include natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, wildfires, etc.), which can directly or indirectly cause severe threats to public health and/or wellbeing; accidental emergencies, such as an explosion at a chemical plant or a train derailment; and terrorist hazards. They also can include epidemics, such as pandemic flu.
All Americans should have a plan for what to do during an emergency, and be prepared. But people living with HIV/AIDS have special considerations to think about. For example, if you are living with HIV/AIDS, a natural disaster or other emergency may make it harder for you to take your HIV medications or have access to your health care providers or your pharmacy. To avoid interruptions in HIV treatment or access to medications, you should always have a 10–14 day supply of all your medications on hand.
In addition, in the event of an outbreak of a new disease or epidemic (like influenza), you should consult your health care provider to determine whether you need to take specific precautions because you are living with HIV/AIDS.
Natural Disasters and HIV/AIDSNatural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and wildfires may affect things like air and water quality—which can be even harder on people living with HIV/AIDS because of their weakened immune systems. If you have HIV disease, these environmental hazards can increase your risk for opportunistic infections.
Food and clean water sources could be disrupted during a natural disaster, leading to the possibility of water-borne infections and illness. If sanitation and hygiene are questionable, it’s important to follow proper food and water safety guidelines. For more information, see CDC’s Safe Food and Water.