As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, HIV programs around the world are both experiencing disruptions and demonstrating remarkable resilience. Safeguarding the gains of the global HIV response during the pandemic requires sustained focus on delivering rights-based, evidence-informed, and community-led solutions that maintain or increase access to HIV services while minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19 and promoting individuals’ safety. The Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) project has developed five technical resources to help HIV programs navigate these challenging times.
Strategic Considerations for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on Key-Population-Focused HIV Programs
This resource, newly updated and now endorsed by UNAIDS and the Global HIV Prevention Coalition, offers strategies to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on key population program beneficiaries and staff while safely maintaining access to HIV testing, prevention, care, and treatment services. It focuses on three key areas: (1) safeguarding providers and beneficiaries from COVID-19; (2) supporting safe, sustained connections to HIV services and commodities; and (3) monitoring and improving client outcomes.
Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19 on HIV Programs: Practical Considerations for Community-Based Providers
These practical considerations focus on community HIV services that serve a range of populations, including adolescent girls and young women, orphans and vulnerable children, at-risk men, and key populations. The resource offers guidance on how community cadres — including paid and volunteer workers who may be community-based supporters, peer educators, peer navigators, case workers, or outreach workers ― can adapt their efforts to safely maintain services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ensuring Uninterrupted Essential HIV Treatment Services to Clients During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This guide offers concrete strategies and steps for scaling up interventions that will ensure continuity of care during the pandemic for people living with HIV. The contents are oriented around four key technical priorities: (1) enhancing patient communication, client experience, and teleconsultations; (2) advancing decentralized drug distribution; (3) leveraging multimonth dispensing for antiretroviral therapy (ART), tuberculosis preventive therapy, and cotrimoxazole preventive therapy; and (4) ensuring retention of patients in care.
Modifying Models for Decentralized Distribution of ART through the Private Sector to Address Disruptions Related to COVID-19
Over the past few months, many health workers have been reassigned to the COVID-19 response. Additionally, many patients are not able to travel to health facilities because of physical distancing and lockdown orders. Decentralized distribution models may have a critical role to play in ensuring safe, uninterrupted access to ART. This document provides guidance on how these models can be modified during the COVID-19 pandemic to increase their accessibility, capacity, and safety.
Messaging Guidance for Key-Population-Focused HIV Programs to Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19
This messaging guidance is intended to help ensure that HIV program implementers are providing correct and consistent information about coronavirus and COVID-19 to HIV program beneficiaries, staff, and clinical partners. It includes four sets of messages prioritized for specific audiences: all audiences, people living with HIV, key populations, and community and health staff. Program implementers who wish to use this guidance should adapt messages to align with those of local health authorities and should link to existing resources in relevant languages.