COVID-19 Containment Policy Measures and their Effect on Access to HIV Services for Persons Living With HIV in Ruaraka Sub-County, Kenya
Chirchir, Purity Jerop
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The spread of the novel coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide led to the introduction of mitigation and containment responses designed to stem the heightened transmission of the virus. These measures hindered face-to-face provision of healthcare, which has traditionally formed the foundation for HIV treatment, testing, and prevention services. Although the containment policy guidelines might have been effective in limiting infections, they had serious economic ramifications, which indirectly caused fear and anxiety among people living with HIV (PLHIV). Accordingly, this study assessed the effect of COVID-19 containment measures on access to HIV services for persons living with HIV. Further, the study explored the impact of these measures on the psychological health of PLHIV, including their knowledge on the virus and the coping strategies they adopted to enable them access HIV services amidst COVID-19. The study adopted a cross-sectional research design and targeted a population of 914 respondents, out of which 298 respondents constituted the sample size. Proportionate stratified and systematic random sampling approaches were used to select respondents, while a questionnaire was used to collect data. The study used a self-reported questionnaire (SRQ-20) to screen for existence of psychological distress. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyze the data using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The findings established that COVID-19 containment guidelines, such as stay at home requirement, hindered access to HIV services. The study concluded that the outcomes of these guidelines contributed to psychological distress; coping strategies used by PLHIV to enable them access HIV services did not completely mitigate against the limited access; and people living with HIV had knowledge of the symptoms and high risk factors of COVID-19. The study recommends the Ministry of Health to integrate digital health into the delivery platforms of HIV services.
International Journal of Professional Practice (IJPP)
SubjectCOVID- 19 containment policy measures