The new life of the immunocompromised

For nearly three months, Brian lived as a hermit. It leaves the least possible of his apartment in the Plateau Mont-Royal. He is afraid of contracting the COVID-19. “I have zero contact with just about anyone,” he said. This Montreal 57-year-old living with HIV-aids. “I’m vulnerable to the COVID-19. It worries me. “

Brian is hiv-positive since 2003 — he prefers to conceal his name because of the people around him ignore his illness. The pandemic has transformed her life. “Before, I was someone who went out in the morning and returning in the evening, after dinner,” he says. He is now holed up at home and telework. “I’m delivering [the grocery store] the more possible, he said. I see my friends through Facetime. “

In addition to being hiv-positive, Brian has co-morbidities. His kidneys are functioning at half, as a result of the decision, in the past, a drug against HIV-aids. “I have asthma allergen since I have a cat “, he adds. In April, he resigned to give his companion in adoption. “I live alone,” he said. It was my presence alone. “

The COVID-19 scares a lot of people whose immune system is weakened. And for good reason. Immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for complications from respiratory infections. “At the beginning of the pandemic, it was assumed that all people who are immunocompromised are at risk [of COVID-19],” said Dr. Donald Vinh, a microbiologist at McGill university health Centre researcher and clinician. We discover now that not. “

Pregnant women, people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or with celiac disease do not appear to be at higher risk of being infected by the COVID-19 and to be diagnosed with a severe form of the disease, ” explains Dr. Donald Vinh.

With regard to hiv-positive people, too few data are yet available, according to Dr. Réjean Thomas, medical director of the clinic from The Current one, in Montreal. “But for the time being, according to the clinicians of the hospitals in the western countries, there does not seem to have reached the top of the COVID-19 in persons with HIV-aids, with triple therapy,” he said. This treatment protects their immune system. “

An international study, published a week ago in the scientific journal The Lancet, however, shows that people with active cancer, which affects a body, have a high risk of being infected by the COVID-19 and develop severe symptoms. “It is sure that older patients are affected more severely than younger people,” said Dr. Donald Vinh, who has contributed to this study.

People who have received a bone marrow transplant or who are on the point of receive a are also among the most vulnerable, according to Dr. Donald Vinh.

Telework recommended

Pending more data, the national Institute of public health of Quebec, advocates of the precautionary principle. It recommends that health care workers who are immunocompromised should be reassigned to ensure that they are in contact with positive cases, probable, or suspected COVID-19. It promotes telecommuting for 11 categories of workers who are immunocompromised, such as those with autoimmune disease and receiving immunosuppressive therapy.

This is the case of Paulina Campos, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. The technician administrative 42 years old works from home. “My doctor has even signed a ticket off of work if I am no longer able to continue [in this sense] “, she says.

The COVID-19 anguish. “If I catch it, is what I’m going to be hospitalized ? Is it that my spouse and I be sick ? Who will take care of our little boy ? “wondered she.

To avoid contamination, all the family remains at home. His spouse works at a distance. “Even if we say that we déconfine, we, we do déconfine not,” said Paulina Campos. We don’t do barbecue. My son is not going to in the modules of play at the park. “He plays rather in the sand, plays soccer and engages in the collection of rocks.

But Paulina Campos knows that, sooner or later, his son will have to go back to day care. “If I do not bring on the 1st of September, it will lose its place,” she said. She would find herself in fine linen, says she, if a vaccine is produced only at the beginning of 2021. She then returns to work.

Heidi Deschênes, there may be more to this pandemic. The 37 year old woman, mother of two young children, was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 3.Since the 23rd of December, she underwent 16 chemotherapy treatments and the removal of both breasts. She is a carrier of mutations in the gene BRCA2, an important risk factor for cancer of the breast.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, everything that came in the house had to be disinfected : the grocery store, the package says Heidi Deschenes, who lives in Magog. I could not go anywhere. “

Since the déconfinement, she did some races with a mask. Her children, aged three and five years, remain at home. His eldest, who would have been able to return to the kindergarten in may, misses her friends and her teacher, she said.

If it was not for it. Heidi Deschênes has also had to proceed alone to chemotherapy as well as surgery, a pivotal moment in his life as a woman. Chaperones are not allowed in the hospitals during the pandemic. “It’s like a nightmare,” she said.

In spite of everything, Heidi, Deschênes, sees better days. The prognosis is “good,” she says.

Brian, himself, is unaware of how long it will remain confined. He spent a serological test for the COVID-19 after having symptoms consistent with the disease. Result : negative. “If it had been positive, I would have maybe given a peace of mind… “

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