63 projects in 33 countries successfully continued HIV services during COVID-19

63 projects in 33 countries successfully continued HIV services during COVID-19

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we've seen our local partners struggle with keeping their communities safe. In particular people who are already experiencing human rights violations and barriers in accessing services due to HIV-related stigma, discrimination and exclusion, such as LGBT people, sex workers, youth, children, and people who use drugs, have been deeply affected by the pandemic.

Our partners intensified their efforts in response, altering their activities, staying within the safety measures, to ensure nobody is left behind in the HIV response during the pandemic. The results are impeccable. On this page, we share some of the impact of 63 community-led projects in 33 countries, funded by the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund with a total expenditure of 563,281 euros. 

5 affected areas of work due to COVID-19

  1. Outreaches and prevention activities hampered due to movement restrictions and resulting in reduced HIV testing, no face-to-face counselling and psychosocial support took a while to be started online.
     
  2. Access to HIV services was affected, including PrEP, condoms, and lubricants. ART transport either stood still or became very expensive.
     
  3. Less beneficiaries reached as clients were afraid to come to the clinics, outreach workers could not reach their communities and offices, clinics were closed and workshops, awareness sessions and meetings were cancelled. 
     
  4. Violence against women significantly increased, whilst there were no shelters or safe spaces opened. Providing legal aid to sex workers was a nightmare after the countries lockdown, more death including all sorts of violence on the rise.
     
  5. Programme operations delayed because funds needed to be reallocated and in several partner organisations, staff contracted COVID-19.

Other challenges faced by community members were misinformation on COVID-19, social distancing, loss of income, food insecurity, poor adherence to HIV treatment, homelessness, psychosocial and mental health problems, and riskier work practices.

Raising child-friendly COVID-19 awareness saved lives

South Africa | Children
How to teach children living with HIV about the coronavirus and make sure they stay safe and on treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic? With a grant from the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund, our South-African partner Zoë-Life equipped frontline workers with protective material and child-friendly educational tools. Over 1000 children and another 1000 caregivers received child-friendly, accurate COVID-19 and HIV information.

a child's hand with a pencil colouring a drawing

Delivering vital medication by bicycle

Uganda | Young people
“I used to get calls: ‘Peter, help me out, Peter help me out’. So to the nearby people, I used to walk and pick their medicine so that I can bring it to them”. Peter works as a peer counsellor in Uganda, determined to help those affected by the lockdown. At first, calls came from the young people he helped as part of his peer network, but soon they were coming from everywhere. 

A young man riding a bicycle

Continuity of HIV treatment for male sex workers during COVID

Kenya | Sex workers
“The Ministry of Health greatly supported us to ensure continuously addressing of the health needs of male sex workers despite the challenges caused by the COVID pandemic. They issued movement permits to our health care workers and engaged our team to maintain safety standards at the clinic.” With support from the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund, HOYMAS from Kenya managed to reach out to 312 community members and frontline staff.

Bottles with hand sanitizer

Online mental support during COVID reaches 500,000 youth

Ukraine | Young people
The pandemic negatively influences the health condition of adolescents living with HIV, especially those who are in lack of one or both parents or who are living in poverty. Isolation, logistical breaks and informational pressure cause treatment interruptions. To tackle this issue, Teenergizer from Ukraine applied for a grant from the Aidsfonds COVID Response Fund. Teenergizer managed to engage 500.000 adolescents in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region with online psychosocial support during isolation.

laptop screen showing an online meeting

Scaling uptake of accurate COVID info among young people living with HIV

Kenya | Young people
Our partner AYARHEP played an important role in complementing the Kenyan government’s efforts in addressing misinformation on COVID-19. The organisation targeted vulnerable adolescents and young people who would otherwise be left without accurate COVID-19 information on COVID-19, with all consequences this can have. Among others comics were developed, transferring COVID-19 info in a convenient way.

Illustration with COVID messaging

Grandmother stays resilient despite COVID-19 challenges

Uganda | Children
The pandemic has greatly affected 67-year-old Namusoke Scholastic, who lives in Uganda together with her three grandchildren. She has to walk more than five kilometres to the health facility to pick ARVs for her grandson every month. “Before COVID-19, I could use a “boda-boda” (motorcycle), but now they are not allowed to carry any passengers. I honestly feel challenged walking to pick refills for my grandson.” Scholastic narrates. Still, she has never missed any appointment because she understands the importance of HIV treatment on her grandson’s life.

Three people holding food bags

Facilitation of expert clients to follow up on ARV adherence during COVID

Uganda | Young women
Being the eldest and a breadwinner of a family of eight, 26-year-old Prossy from Uganda used to operate a small stall in the market. Due to the COVID19 crisis, the market has since then been closed leaving her and the entire family helpless.

A woman gets medication from a health worker

About the Aidsfonds COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund

Already in the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clear that our partners, who provide critical HIV and sexual and reproductive health services to their communities faced increased difficulties to reach people in need. To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people living with, affected by or vulnerable to HIV Aidsfonds set up a COVID Response Fund to support partners in their work with flexible rapid and short term funding.

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