HIV Specialist - June 2021 - 21

Source: Funders Concerned About AIDS' 2019 Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS report
■ The struggle to survive infection, illness, death, and the day-to-day
impact of COVID-19 compounded mental health challenges for
vulnerable and key populations, however mental health services
were not available in many settings.
■ The medical supply chain has also been affected, with reports of
severe disruption to HIV testing, monitoring, sexual and reproductive
healthcare, and harm reduction services.
■ Affordable, timely access to available technology was not always
possible. As more and more services transitioned to digital platforms,
the infrastructure and training costs were not sufficiently supported.
■ Gender based violence and human rights infringement increased
in countries around the world as COVID-19 exacerbated
the stigma, discrimination, harassment and violence experienced by
marginalized, criminalized populations.
Bringing the conversation back to funding, as resources shift to
address COVID-19, there is concern that already plateauing resources
for HIV/AIDS may be further-and permanently-diminished. The
implications of this shift are particularly severe on long-standing
activism to overcome health inequities that impact HIV care, treatment,
and advocacy. Already, HIV services have come to a halt in some
communities and prevention is not being funded. The risk of high HIV
infections in the future is significantly increasing.
CHAPTER 3: Changing Course
We do not yet know the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact
on the levels and types of HIV-related philanthropic funding. As we
await the data, we have the opportunity to adjust course in order to
combat the converging epidemics of COVID-19, HIV, and systemic
inequality. To do this, we must increase funding
for the strategies and populations that
demand additional attention, support, and
flexibility to help combat the compounding effects
of COVID-19. In addition to funding, we
must also accelerate intersectional, multi-level
work, with particular attention to viewing
both the HIV and COVID-19 response
through a racial justice and human rights lens.
COVID-19 has highlighted long-standing
inequities and gaps in the response to HIV
and AIDS. But the next chapter is not yet
written. By taking the necessary steps, we will
ensure a far better outcome for this story. HIV
JOHN BARNES is the Executive
Director of FCAA, the leading voice on
philanthropic resources allocated to the
global AIDS epidemic.
ENDNOTES
1. The term " key populations " refers to the following
population groups: gay men/men who have sex with men,
people who inject drugs, transgender people, sex workers,
general LGBTQ, and key affected populations not broken
down.
2. Excerpted and adapted from FCAA COVID-19 Learning
Initiative Terms of Reference
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