Activist community

Assess the needs and concerns of the HIV community regarding the long COVID

COVID-19 and the long COVID continue to impact people’s lives, including those living with HIV. A recent survey, report and webinar assessed the concerns of the HIV community regarding COVID-19 and offered community leaders recommendations to meet the needs of the HIV population at this point in history.

Entitled “Resourcing the HIV Community to Cope with COVID and Long COVID in 2022“, the report and the webinar were presented by Strategies for High Impact, the Network for Long COVID Justice and Springboard Health Lab.

According to the report, key recommendations are that the HIV sector should be resourced to:

  • Ensure accurate and timely information, resources and best practices on COVID-19 across the HIV sector;
  • Increase accessibility and expand disability justice in community HIV organizations, programs and practices; and
  • Treating long COVID and other complex chronic illnesses in PLHIV [people living with HIV] and the HIV community, through programming, advocacy and communications.

For the report, researchers conducted a digital survey between January and March, which attracted 71 participants, 70.4% of whom said they were living with HIV.

“Participants reported significant pandemic stress,” the report states, “including concerns about the duration of COVID (88.7%), the impact of COVID-19 infections in people living with HIV (89 .9%), risks to HIV programs and funding (73.2%), increased stigma around viral infections (70.4%) and the impact of isolation on PLHIV (88.7%). %).

The report includes several video segments, such as Philip Shubin’s testimony below on living with HIV and the long COVID:

The report concludes that “Communities living with HIV have a widespread need and desire for information, resources and support on a range of issues and concerns regarding COVID-19 and the long COVID.” These include:

  • Many groups consulted report that their leaders, staff and members/clients are unsure of current recommendations for COVID-19 prevention, vaccination and treatment.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic presents particular challenges for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and the HIV community, including re-traumatization, as survivors of an ongoing viral epidemic; potential increased risk of severe or fatal COVID-19 due to common comorbidities in long-term HIV survivors; programmatic outages; and potential adverse drug interactions if the most widely used COVID-19 antiviral treatment, Paxlovid, is prescribed.

  • PLHIV who suffer from frailty or other comorbidities and disabilities face a greater risk of isolation, which leads to additional negative effects on emotional, mental and physical health. As many people return to pre-COVID-19 practices, those who remain vigilant to avoid exposure may experience further marginalization and stigma.

  • A growing body of research evidence indicates that PHAs may be at significantly higher risk of long-term COVID, an umbrella term used to describe a range of potentially serious chronic conditions in people following COVID-19 infection, including those that initially manifest as asymptomatic or mild cases.

“The HIV sector has much to teach our country about the fight against pandemics, including the importance of meaningful involvement of those most affected,” wrote the authors in the introduction to the reportadding that “growing evidence indicates that PLHIV may be at significantly higher risk for COVID over the long term.”

The report highlights the racial disparities that persist in the two health crises, stating: “As the nation reaches the tragic marker of 1 million documented deaths from COVID-19, it is clear that the tragic losses of the pandemic have increased. produced and continue to occur. – much more strongly in black and brown communities who also face disproportionate rates of HIV.

To learn more about these intersections and disparities, read the full report or join a Zoom Live discussion about it on Thursday, July 14, at 3 p.m..

To learn more about coronavirus and HIV, click on #COVID-19. You’ll find articles such as “The HIV Movement Must Pass”, an opinion piece by HIV activist JD Davids, which discusses how people living with HIV can be good allies for those with a long COVID. Davids also lists resources for those with long COVID. For more on the pandemic, visit POZ’s sister website COVIDHealth.com.