Due to the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, many populations are experiencing negative consequences such as job loss, food insecurity, and the inability to manage existing medical conditions and maintain preventive measures to control the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Some of the most disadvantaged in the COVID-19 era are People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and other vulnerable groups.
As the number of new HIV infections decreases globally, there are still subpopulations that remain at higher risk of infection in the Caribbean and have limited or no access to prevention, care, and treatment.
The populations that are the hardest hit are those that also lack power and experience high levels of food insecurity, poverty, drug abuse, incarceration among men, and those suffering from other infectious and chronic diseases.
As we struggle to ensure continuity of services for PLHIV during the pandemic, we need to consider how we can better support them to ease the added burden of the pandemic.
We can support PLHIV by ensuring food and other social protection services, including temporary shelters for key populations, People Living with HIV, and other vulnerable groups.
There is also the possibility to explore opportunities to provide cash transfers and other support to PLHIV who have lost their jobs or are in vulnerable conditions, especially among key populations. Also, there is a need to provide services to support populations most affected by violence, especially among women, transgender women, girls, and migrant populations.
Let us use our collective skills and collaborate to support the most vulnerable during COVID-19.