MAINTENANCE OF ANTI-RETROVIRAL THERAPY (ART) TO HIV PATIENTS AND THEIR PREVENTIVE PRACTICES AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC - A SYNDEMIC PERSPECTIVE FROM A HIV CENTER IN PAKISTAN
Objective: To see the implementation of designed strategy for uninterrupted supply of HIV treatment at time of COVID-19 Pandemic along with the knowledge and preventive practices regarding COVID-19 among HIV positive patients to have baseline data for future interventions to control HIV-COVID-19 syndemic.
Study Design: Cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: HIV Center at Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Hospital, Karachi Pakistan, from Mar to May 2020.
Methodology: 100 patients who visited the center for medicines were interviewed. Participants were inquired about the availability of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) during lockdown, discontinuity in treatment suffered during this pandemic, their preventive behaviour against COVID-19, most adopted prevention and source of information for this behavior.
Results: Among all the participants 72% have achieved viral suppression. As far as multi month dispensing was concerned 10% received ART for one month, 64% for 2 months and 18% for 3 months as per the strategy devised by Pakistan AIDS control in collaboration with UNAIDS. Out of 11% developed symptoms but later on tested negative on PCR test. Most commonly adopted personal protection adopted was face mask among 68% participants followed by hand washing and social distancing. All the participants were of the opinion that they received sufficient information regarding COVID-19, its prevention and mode of spread. The source of information was TV 60%, HIV center 30% and both TV and HIV center 10%.
Conclusion: It was found that all the patients got uninterrupted supply of anti-retroviral medicines. Despite sufficient knowledge regarding disease they couldn’t comply with........