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HIV Med ; 23(2): 169-177, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462791


OBJECTIVES: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been associated with severe disruptions in health care services, and nonpharmacological measures such as social distancing also have an impact on access to screening tests and on the long-term care of patients with chronic conditions globally. We aimed to describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV testing and treatment and to describe strategies employed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on HIV care. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we used secondary data from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Global Quality Program from 44 countries in four continents (Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Africa), and compared information on HIV testing, percentage of positive results, number of in-person appointments, and number of new enrolments in HIV care from 1 January 2020 to 31 August 2020 with the equivalent period in 2019. RESULTS: Despite marked inter-country heterogeneities, we found that COVID-19 was associated with a significant reduction in HIV testing, an increase in the percentage of positive tests, a reduction in the number of in-person consultations and a reduction in the number of new enrolments in care, despite the implementation of several mitigation strategies. The impact of COVID-19 differed across continents and key populations. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that, in the years to come, health care services must be prepared to respond to the impact of COVID-19 on HIV testing and care. Providers and facilities should build on the lessons learned so far to further improve mitigation strategies and establish care priorities for both the pandemic and the post-pandemic periods.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , HIV Testing , Pandemics , Africa/epidemiology , Asia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Caribbean Region/epidemiology , Europe/epidemiology , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/therapy , HIV Testing/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Latin America/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies
Braz J Infect Dis ; 25(5): 101617, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1377669


BACKGROUND: Mobility restrictions and overloaded health services during the COVID-19 pandemic compromised services dedicated to the prevention and care of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). In this study, we present client's responses to standardized questionnaires applied during the COVID-19 pandemic period as part of the strategy to measure impacts on social and sexual vulnerability, access to STI prevention services, and access to STI care. METHODS: The questionnaires included variables on sociodemographics, behavior, risk perception, prevention attitudes, barriers to service-based HIV rapid test, reasons for taking an HIV self-test, and access to health services for STI diagnosis and treatment. We explored demographic variables associated with income reduction, reduced access to HIV/STI testing/treatment and increased vulnerability to HIV/STI. RESULTS: 847 participants responded to the study questionnaire between May 2020 and January 2021. Most were young, cisgender male, and 63% self-reported as men who have sex with men. Income reductions were reported by 50%, with 30% reporting a decline over 50% of total income. An increase in heavy episodic drinking (>5 doses) was reported by 18%; 7% reported more sexual partners and 6% reported using condoms less often. Difficulties in obtaining HIV tests, tests for other STI and treatment for STI were reported by 5%, 6% and 6%, respectively. Lower schooling was significantly associated with income reduction (p = 0.004) and with reduced access to HIV/STI testing or STI treatment (p = 0.024); employment status was associated with income reduction (p < 0.001) and increased vulnerability to HIV/STI (p = 0.027). Having access to an expedite test result, avoiding physical attendance in health units during the pandemic, and undertaking the test with privacy with a trusted person were reported as motivators for HIV self-test. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings are relevant to promote service improvements tailored to subgroups more likely to struggle with detrimental effects during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Attitude , Delivery of Health Care , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexual Behavior , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention & control