How COVID-19 is affecting the lives of women living with HIV
7 video shorts from our colleagues in Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe describe what is happening to women and girls living with and affected by HIV in their communities. To access all the videos, click here.
We are continuing our work with ITPC (see below) and with our Making Waves Network colleagues, to explore the SRHR of women living with and affected by HIV under Covid-19 restrictions. So far, this has involved many interviews and some videos, (see above). We will also be writing an article for publication.
The image here shows the seven calls to action to donors and governments. To read all of these in more detail, click here.
Since COVID-10 began to touch all our lives, we have been keeping track, both in the UK and globally, of its effects.
In many cases, it is not so much COVID-19 itself which has caused huge disruption: it is rather the consequences of lockdown which have thrown up immense challenges to many.
As the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said in the Nelson Mandela 2020 lecture: ”
“COVID-19 has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built. It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all; The fiction that unpaid care work is not work; The delusion that we live in a post-racist world; The myth that we are all in the same boat….”
Back in March 2020, our ITPC colleague, Wame Jallow, presented our research on the SRHR of women living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (ie pre-COVID) at the Conference on Retroviruses and Co-Infections (CROI). This already painted a sobering picture.
We also drafted an Advocacy Brief based on the findings, jointly published with ITPC. This stated:
“The women who were consulted pointed out that they have repeatedly made all of the recommendations listed below, over decades, in many successive documents produced by women living with HIV. Women commented that if these recommendations had been taken into account in the first place, the problems created by the blanket ban on dolutegravir in many countries could have been averted.”
The findings produced at CROI and in the advocacy brief were the result of research conducted between December 2019 and February 2020, by the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Salamander Trust, Africaid and the International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW). Together we consulted with 198 women in 28 counties through an online survey (ITPC), interviews (Salamander Trust), and focus group discussions (ICW East Africa and Africaid). A rapid literature review was also conducted by Salamander Trust.
Salamander Trust also interviewed women from Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Little did we know at the time, but this research has provided a valuable baseline for ongoing comparison with the situation now being faced by women in the same geographic areas, as they face and respond to COVID-19.