COVID-19 is a severe public health emergency for all citizens and societies with infections. It is also a major health and socio-economic shock to People Living with HIV (PLHIV). Compared with the general population, people with compromised immunity are at higher risk of contracting the new coronavirus and developing more serious COVID-19 illness; and this includes People Living with HIV. The HIV population is aging, and nearly half are over 50. Those with low CD4 T-cell counts or indicating advanced immune suppression are at greatest risk.
The Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) and Zimbabwe Young Positives (ZY+) calls upon the government and other stakeholders to take the COVID-19 threat to public health seriously and proactively prepare communities. It is clear that people need to practice maximum hygiene standards and as well as reduce social contact inorder to reduce the spread of the virus. This means that for PLHIV their frequency of visiting health facilities has also to be minimized to avoid large gatherings during refill dates. We call for the Ministry of Health and Child Care to have a plan in place for multi-month prescriptions and manage the supply chain of the medicines effectively to avoid stock-outs and as well as limit frequent visits to health facilities.
We sincerely hope that no deaths out of COVID-19 will be recorded in Zimbabwe and we call upon the responsible citizens of this country to remain sanitized.
Source: Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+)