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Post: Covid-19 Risk for 7,5 million People Living With HIV in South Africa

Press Release

Covid-19 Risk for 7,5 million People Living With HIV in South Africa

April 2020

Goal 3 of the South Africa’s National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs 2017 – 2022 stipulates that we reach all Key and vulnerable population with customised and targeted interventions. During this time we should remain steadfast in protecting our People living with HIV (PLHIV). We ask that we all stay in your homes so that we are able to reduce the spread of Covid19 and the risk of secondary infection to PLHIV.

There is no evidence that the risk of infection or complications of COVID-19 is different among people living with HIV who are on antiretroviral treatment when compared with the general population.

PLHIV are advised to take the same precautions as the general population:
Wash hands often
Cough etiquette
Physical distancing
Seek medical care if symptomatic and
Self-isolation if in contact with someone with COVID-19

People living with HIV who are taking antiretroviral drugs should ensure that they have supply of medicines and adhere to treatment.

Ensure Human Rights for People Living With HIV
During South Africa’s Lockdown we have seen reduction of many human rights. However the Government and Civil Society Forum understand that our constitution will always ensure that fundamental human rights are not eroded in the response to COVID-19 and to ensure that People Living With HIV are offered the same access to services as others and to ensure HIV-related services continue without disruption.

Generally, vulnerable populations, including members of key populations, as well as Sex Workers, Adolescent Girls and Your Women, LGBTIQ, Men who have sex with men, People With Disability, Healthcare Workers, inmates, People Who Inject drugs, may be at increased risk of Corina Virus infection because of additional impacting on their immune system, reduced ability to apply measures of confinement and social distancing, as well as generally limited access to health services.

It is critical that services that reach these populations such as community-based services, drop-in centres and outreach services can continue providing life-saving prevention (distribution of condoms, needles and syringes), testing and treatment while securing safety of staff and clients.

You in theory enjoy all the rights afforded to you by the Bill of Rights.
Limitations should be allowed only to effectively address disaster situation.

Depending on the regulations and the impact of infection the following freedoms and rights will/may be impacted:
1) your right to freedom of movement – s21
2) right to freedom of expression – s16,
3) freedom of assembly and picket – s17,
4) freedom to participate in political activities – s19,
5) freedom of trade, occupation and profession – s22,
6) right to fair labour relations – s23,
7) right to healthcare, food &water- s27,
8) right to Education – s29)

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