The HIV community is an amazing group of people representing various races, colors, creeds, genders, sexual orientations, regions, and countries. We are people living with and at risk for HIV, health and support service professionals, advocates, CEOs, researchers, government and nonprofit employees, and policy makers. Our collective commitment is what binds us. It is a commitment to bring forward a better day for those at risk for or living with HIV, when access to high-quality HIV prevention and care are realities for everyone. So as Chief Operating Officer of Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America, I wanted to reach out during these challenging times and thank you for all you are doing to address HIV in the context of COVID-19. This includes our federal partners who have moved quickly to award supplemental funding to communities to address the intersection of COVID-19 and HIV. I also want to note that HHS leadership has been clear the EHE initiative remains an administration priority during the COVID-19 response.
Across the country, agencies and healthcare providers who serve people with HIV and those at risk are working diligently to maintain safe access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care services. Federal agencies have developed multiple HIV resources on COVID-19, and last week, CDC released a “Dear Colleague” letter on HIV self-testing guidance. Our PACE officers continue to work with local organizations to support HIV program work. Agencies have made strides in other areas as well. The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir, which was announced at the White House. Remdesivir is an investigational antiviral drug that will be used to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. I invite you to visit HIV.gov/coronavirus for regularly updated links to HIV and COVID-19 resources as they are released.
I also call your attention to some excellent resources from our federal partners on supporting one’s behavioral health, including:
- CDC—Managing Stress and Coping During COVID-19
- SAMHSA—Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- SAMHSA—Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation [PDF, 500KB]
During this time of public health emergency, we must take care of ourselves and support one another as we continue on our path to end the HIV epidemic:
- If you have HIV, stay in care and follow the advice of your healthcare provider. Check your medication supply and talk with your case manager or healthcare provider to find out if they are using telehealth, including telephone, to continue your regular HIV care.
- Give yourself permission to acknowledge that this is a difficult time and there is a lot we don’t know right now.
- Practice gratitude.
- Stay mindful and present in mind, body, and spirit, and find ways to recharge and renew as needed.
- Develop and use your support network. Call or video chat your family, friends, and neighbors to stay socially connected.
We will get through this together thanks to kindness, caring, and following the science.
For more information about COVID-19, visit these government sites: