Background: Globally, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has compromised human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services. The study aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the access and delivery of HIV care in Korea. Materials and Methods: People living with HIV (PLHIV), people at risk of HIV (PAR) and prescribers of HIV care were recruited through a patient advocacy group, online communities for men who have sex with men (MSM) and a HIV care center for a web-based survey between October 22 and November 26, 2020. The survey compared the frequency of hospital/clinic visits, HIV-related testing, access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) or preventive medications, and experience with telehealth services by PLHIV and PAR between the pre-pandemic and pandemic eras. Results: One hundred and twelve PLHIV (mean age: 38.5 ± 10.2 years), 174 PAR (mean age: 33.5 ± 8.0 years) and 9 prescribers participated the survey; ≥97% of the PLHIV and PAR were male. A greater proportion of PAR than PLHIV reported a decrease in the frequency of hospital/clinical visits (59.2% vs. 17.0%) and HIV-related testing (50.6% vs. 6.3%) since COVID-19. Among PAR, not engaging or engaging less in high-risk behaviors was the most frequently cited reason (51.1%) for decreased frequency of HIV-related tests. A substantial proportion of PLHIV (12.5%) and PAR (50.0%) experienced interrupted use of ART and HIV preventive medications, respectively. A substantial proportion of PLHIV (35.7%) and PAR (62.5%) were concerned about the long-term accessibility of HIV care, however, >90% had not used any types of telehealth services during the pandemic. Conclusion: Overall, COVID-19 has negatively impacted the access and delivery of HIV services in Korea, especially HIV-related testing for PAR. Our findings highlight the need to develop strategies to mitigate the interrupted HIV care.
|Journal||Infection and Chemotherapy|
|Publication status||Published - 2021 Dec|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc. The authors thank the 3 HIV/AIDS patient advocacy groups: ivan Stop HIV/AIDS Project (iSHAP), IVANCITY, and LOVE4ONE for supporting the survey procedures. The authors also thank Kantar for collecting and analysing the data. The authors thank Min Hee Choi, Ph.D., Costello Medical Singapore Pte Ltd, for medical writing and editorial assistance based on the authors’ input and direction.
This work was supported by Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Copyright © 2021 by The Korean Society of Infectious Diseases, Korean Society for Antimicrobial Therapy, and The Korean Society for AIDS
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)