By ITPC, in partnership with Dristi Nepal and the Director of the AIDS and Society Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, Dr. Rebecca Hodes.
The global evidence-base on Covid-19 has been rapidly populated by clinical studies and epidemiological models. But there is a critical lack of data about the impact of the pandemic on the health and human rights of people living with HIV globally. Informed by advancements in HIV treatment and prevention, UNAIDS and its partners (including national governments, bilateral agencies, advocacy coalitions and community-based organisations) had committed to the ambitious 90-90-90 targets, to be met by the year 2020 (UNAIDS 2014). The Covid-19 pandemic threatened to defer or even reverse the gains made in meeting these targets, undermining critical progress in the global HIV response.
In June 2020, the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC Global) embarked on an ambitious project to map the impact of Covid-19 on people living with HIV, and to support and strengthen community-led monitoring of essential health services and human rights in specific locations around the globe. From June to July 2020, ITPC worked together with Dristi Nepal (an advocacy organisation of women living with HIV and who use drugs), to gather first-hand accounts of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on women living with HIV and using drugs in Nepal, particularly in Kathmandu and surrounding valleys.
A participatory research tool was developed collaboratively by Dristi Nepal (hereafter ‘Dristi’), and ITPC to capture and assess the impact of Covid-19. The qualitative survey tool used images and emoticons to encourage participants, regardless of literacy, to relate their experiences of healthcare services as people living with HIV, and to rank their government’s actions on health provisions and human rights both prior to and during the Covid-19 pandemic. Every component of the tool’s development and implementation was collaborative, from the formulation of indicators, to its inclusive design and analysis of findings.