Coping with HIV in a pandemic

Coping with HIV in a pandemic

People living with HIV are hit with a double whammy: not only do they have to maintain their treatment but they are also a vulnerable group that must be extra vigilant against Covid-19. SALMAH (not her real name), 38, earns a living as a nanny, looking after children whose parents work as teachers. But since schools closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, her services have not been needed. So she has no income now. On top of that, Salmah has been living with HIV for the past 15 years. “My husband is also unwell and unemployed. I’m afraid because I have to take medication every day to cope with HIV. I am worried that my supply will be affected, ” says Salmah, who has been geting her medicine through Pos Laju services during the conditional movement control order (MCO). Such is the predicament of some people living with HIV (PLHIV) in these trying times. Another person living with HIV who wishes to be known only as Hani, 54, also struggles to make ends meet as a stall operator and as a single mother of three children. “I hope I will be able to carry on with life. I have to be brave as I am alone, ” she says. There are about 75,040 people living with HIV in Malaysia now. The Covid-19 outbreak has added another layer of anxiety in a community already living on the edge and deeply vulnerable to stigma and discrimination. Even for younger PLHIV like Maza (not his real name), 30 ...
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