Vol 5 No 1 (2023)

Published: 2023-08-14

Abstract views: 471   PDF downloads: 168  

Pages 263-270

Adapting to change during the pandemic: The impact of COVID-19 on people living with HIV, and their coping strategies

blankpage Tam Chipawe Cane

Background: COVID-19 lockdowns led to people living with HIV experiencing lack of social connectedness, social isolation, difficulties with using technology and accessing health care and support services easily. The presented study sought to understand the challenges caused by COVID-19 and coping strategies.  Methods: The study was conducted using focus groups with nineteen participants. Participants lost social connectedness, struggled to learn technology, and felt isolated in the absence of face to face peer support activities provided by HIV community support services. Participants employed a range of positive coping strategies including appreciation of the outdoors and volunteering. Conclusion: People living with value social contact and face-face support offered through HIV voluntary sector organisations. The absence of this led to compromised social and emotional wellbeing. This focus group-based research with provision of communal lunch however, played a part in addressing isolation, appreciation of social contact and limiting the psychological impact caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.