COVID-19 Pandemic Caused Only a Dip in HIV Prevention, Care Services

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Results reported by CDC researchers show a sharp decline in HIV prevention and care services, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, in the second quarter of 2020, but a recovery in the third quarter.

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health emergency declared on March 13, 2020 has disrupted the work, school, and social life of nearly everyone in the United States. The cause of the disease was unknown and there was no vaccine. Telemedicine as an alternative has so far been ineffective.

Now, healthcare researchers are starting to sift through the data to see how widespread the disruption was and get an early read on the results.

Research results published in this issue Weekly reports of morbidity and mortality HIV prevention and care experienced a sharp decline in the second quarter of 2020, but recovered in the third quarter.

“HIV prevention and care service systems have been resilient during the COVID pandemic,” writes Karen W. Hoover MD, and her colleagues in the HIV Prevention Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Using data from LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, IQVIA, and the National HIV Surveillance System, Hoover and her colleagues calculated the number of HIV tests, the number of people diagnosed with HIV, and the number of people prescribing antiretroviral therapy. Did. They found that testing, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) prescriptions, and other services dipped in the second quarter of 2020 but recovered in the third quarter. , remained stable throughout 2020. This is due to increased use of telemedicine and increased home delivery of her ART medications.

Below is a table showing the decline and subsequent recovery of HIV prevention and care services reported by Hoover and her colleagues.

As the figures in the table show, the number of HIV tests decreased by 32% from Q1 to Q2 (from 2,471,614 to 1,682,578), but increased by 38% to 2,325,554 tests in Q3. Prescriptions for PrEP declined by 6% from Q1 to Q2 of 2020 (from 190,955 to 179,280) before increasing by approximately 3% to 184,320 in Q3.

Below is a table comparing Q4 2019, 2020 and 2021.

In most cases, HIV prevention and care services will continue to increase in 2021, with a recovery in the second half of 2020.

Supporting prevention and care services outside clinical settings can help sustain them during disruptions such as public health emergencies, the researchers said, adding that HIV and PrEP self-test kits is in various stages of development and distribution.

Additional funding and easing of some rules helped the recovery after the Q2 decline, they said. They noted that the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program will be allocated his $90 million budget in 2020, waiving certain requirements to receive those funds.

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