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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-43

Corona virus disease-2019 pandemic: Ensuring delivery of essential HIV services


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission19-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication23-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjmsr.mjmsr_31_20

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  Abstract 


The corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been reported among all the age-groups, with severity being highest among elderly people and those with some pre-existing illnesses. The available evidence has not suggested that a person living with HIV (PLHIV) has a higher risk of acquisition of infection or the development of serious complications if they do get infected with COVID-19, provided their immune system is not compromised. Amidst dealing with this COVID-19 emergency, it is quite possible that delivery of essential health services, including those required for PLHIV will be temporarily interrupted. In these times of emergency, we should aim for reducing the number of visits to the ART center and inform them about the disease. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic is bound to impact the delivery of essential services for PLHIVs and thus it is our utmost responsibility to improve the resilience of the health system to ensure that appropriate strategies are adopted to ensure the uninterrupted supply of the essential services are offered to these vulnerable population groups.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, HIV, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona virus disease-2019 pandemic: Ensuring delivery of essential HIV services. Muller J Med Sci Res 2020;11:42-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Corona virus disease-2019 pandemic: Ensuring delivery of essential HIV services. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Apr 12];11:42-3. Available from: https://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2020/11/1/42/304593




  Introduction Top


The corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been reported among all the age groups, with severity being highest among elderly people and those with some preexisting illnesses. Till date, 13,876,441 cases and 593,087 deaths have been reported cumulatively in all the affected nations, with the American and the European region being the most affected.[1] HIV has been recognized as one of the major global public health concerns prevailing for more than three decades, nevertheless in the ongoing pandemic, at present, the available evidence has not suggested a higher risk of acquisition of infection or the development of serious complications if they do get infected, provided their immune system is not compromised.[2]


  COVID-19 and HIV Top


However, it has been reported that people with an underlying disease or a weak immune system should be regarded as a vulnerable group. Thus, under all circumstances, it is expected that all newly diagnosed HIV people should be started on antiretroviral treatment (ART) either on the same day or latest within 7 days.[2] On a similar note, all the people living with HIV (PLHIV) should strictly adhere to their therapy to ensure viral suppression and recovery of the immunity so that the risk of the development of complication among them can be minimized, if they get infected with COVID-19. In addition, the vaccination for influenza or pneumonia should also be taken by the PLHIV as it will reduce the possibility of respiratory complications attributed to the COVID-19.[2]

Ensuring delivery of HIV services

Amidst dealing with this COVID-19 emergency, it is quite possible that delivery of essential health services, including those required for PLHIV (such as HIV testing, treatment, and care for HIV-positive antenatal women) will be temporarily interrupted.[2],[3] Regardless of these developments, it is important that we should communicate with PLHIVs about the symptoms of the disease, risk of the infection, ways of prevention, and where to approach (if symptomatic) for availing health care.[4] Further, we should aim for reducing the number of visits to the ART center to once in 6 months for stable persons, and issuing ART for 3-6 months in one go through encouraging multi-month prescriptions and multi-month dispensing of treatment.[2] These strategies not only improve adherence with therapy, but also reduces the load on hospital and minimizes the risk of acquisition of infection by reducing the number of potential exposures to COVID-19 infection in hospital settings. However, for this to happen, we have to strengthen the supply chain management and ensure that adequate stocks of ART are available in health-care establishments.[2],[3]

Other strategies

Similar to the general population, the best way to prevent the acquisition of infection is by maintaining social distancing, adhering to the infection prevention and control measures (such as frequent hand washing, avoid touching eyes-nose-mouth, respiratory hygiene, and rational use of personal protective equipment), and by staying indoors, if elderly or having a coexisting illness.[4] Further, similar protocol of detecting cases should be followed among PLHIV, and if found positive, should be immediately isolated and offered appropriate treatment. Simultaneously, the contacts of the confirmed case should be traced and quarantined to avoid the risk of onward transmission.[2],[4]

In order to effectively contain the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a definitive need for an integrated and an aggressive approach to improve the overall preparedness and resiliency of the health-care delivery system.[2] There arises the role of the PLHIV networks and other organizations which are working for the welfare of them, as it is an ideal scenario to utilize their strengths in the planning and response activities and to ensure provision of reliable information to PLHIV and improve the overall response.[2],[5] These agencies or networks can also aid in upholding the human rights of PLHIVs and minimize the possibility of stigmatization and discrimination, which are crucial aspects of the effective containment of the disease.[2],[5]


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic is bound to impact the delivery of essential services for PLHIVs and thus it is our utmost responsibility to improve the resilience of the health system to ensure that appropriate.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of inte rest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 180; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200718-covid-19-sitrep-180.pdf?sfvrsn=39b31718_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Pan American Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and HIV: Key issues and actions. Washington: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Jiang H, Zhou Y, Tang W. Maintaining HIV care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet HIV 2020;7:e308-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic preparedness and response plan. Geneva: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Guo W, Weng HL, Bai H, Liu J, Wei XN, Zhou K, et al. Quick community survey on the impact of COVID-19 outbreak for the healthcare of people living with HIV. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 2020;41:662-6.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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COVID-19 and HIV
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