The impact of COVID-19 on the HIV continuum of care: challenges, innovations, and opportunities
Expert review of anti-infective therapy
COVID-19; HIV; HIV testing; care continuum; challenges; disparities; disruption; innovation; pandemic; prevention
INTRODUCTION: In February 2019, the United States (US) launched the Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative with emphasis on improving the various steps of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention and care continuum. However, in March 2020, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was declared, curtailing efforts to end the epidemic in the US. AREAS COVERED: To describe the impact of the pandemic on EHE in the US, the authors performed a comprehensive literature review focusing on outcomes at each step of the HIV care continuum. Simultaneously, they identified examples of pandemic-era innovations that may help EHE. EXPERT OPINION: Numerous studies demonstrated pandemic-related disruptions across the care continuum as well as the impact on preexisting barriers to care among People with HIV (PWH) at higher risk for poor outcomes. As the pandemic progressed, innovative approaches to delivering healthcare and providing essential services emerged, including widespread use of telemedicine, expansion of home-based care, self-collected sexually transmitted infection (STI) and HIV testing, and co-located testing for COVID-19 and HIV/STIs. While the COVID-19 pandemic initially hindered achieving EHE in the US, the ability to be agile, flexible, and creative led to innovation in HIV care delivery that may ultimately assist in meeting EHE goals as we transition into the post-pandemic era.
Kim, Jenny Yeon; Barth, Shannon K.; Monroe, Anne K.; Ahsan, Sarah; Kovacic, Janja; Senn, Siena; and Castel, Amanda D., "The impact of COVID-19 on the HIV continuum of care: challenges, innovations, and opportunities" (2023). GW Authored Works. Paper 3135.