ZNNP+ said continuous access to HIV prevention and treatment services must always be assured especially during this lockdown period as this draw back the gains in fighting the spread of HIV virus.
Tonderai Mwareka a programme officer with ZNNP+ also said that the national lockdown has also impacted on people living with HIV as some of them were forced to disclose their HIV status as roadblocks as they try to access services
“I think in terms of impact of Covid-19 om people living with HIV I think in terms of containment measures came with some lockdowns especially during the first wave and that caused a lot of challenges people living with HIV in terms of movement to access their usual services around HIV and AIDS,” Mwareka said during the National AIDS Council (NAC) webinar discussing the impact of Covid-19 on HIV programming.
“Another issues that they faced was forced disclosure of HIV status, usually at times they could not have those exemption letters to travel to the health facilities and they were forced to produce their OI (opportunistic infection) booklets so that those manning road blocks will be satisfied that this person is going for regular refills.”
“Another challenge was the actual access to services especially in Harare I think we all remember that health facilities across Harare once as a result of staff members dissatisfaction and we also had some which were closed a result of that industrial action were they were complaining about not having enough PPEs and that disrupted access to services.”
ZNNP+ then engages the Health Ministry, NAC and other partners to discuss what can be done in order to make sure that service disruption does not negatively impact people living with HIV.
“Usually when people are on treatment and there is adherence to their medicines usually the chances of infecting a person would be limited,” he said.
“If people do not adhere we might regress the gains that we have so far achieved, so when we engaged the partners they then agreed to do sone outreach services to people living with HIV and ZNNP+ mobolised people living with HIV so that they know the outreach teams were stationed and so they would then go to access their services.”