Experiences of adolescents on HIVcare during Covid 19 lockdown at Makerere University joint aids programme immune suppression syndrome clinic Mulago Hospital, Kampala District.
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Background With the indiscriminate spread of COVID-19 globally, the biggest percentage of the populations experienced negative consequences such as job loss, food insecurity and inability to manage existing medical conditions and maintain preventive measures such as social distancing and staying at home. Some of the most disadvantaged or most affected populations during the COVID 19 lockdown were the people living with HIV/ AIDS and other auto immune diseases. As the numbers of new HIV/AIDS infections decrease globally, many adolescents remain at a high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS for example through drug injection, males that have sex with fellow males and other sub populations. It was noted that double stigma arouse among people living with HIV and were diagnosed with COVID 19. As public health and health care workers try to understand the needs of the populations they serve, they should begin to realize the need for change in the infrastructure and human resource that may include more efficient partnerships between public health, health care and HIV programs for service enhancement in case we get another lockdown. Methodology: This research, used qualitative research basing on the fact that it is a process of real-life inquiry that aims to understand a given phenomenon. Therefore, the focused on why, how and what adolescents on ART experienced in seeking HIV/AIDS care and their general medication during the COVID 19 lockdown. During data collection, in-depth interviews with ten male and ten female adolescents within the age range of ten to nineteen years, and two key informants at the facility were conducted. ix Findings Most of the adolescents managed to access their drug refills in many ways like community pharmacies, drug deliveries and using bicycles or motor cycles to access the facility and through the nearest health facilities during lockdown. The experiences that adolescents on ART encountered during COVID 19 lockdown for example included the factors that motivated and those that demotivated adolescents on ART to adhere to their medication. A minimal number of the adolescents on ART experienced stigma during the COVID 19 lockdown. Conclusion Adherence to treatment among adolescents on ART can be achieved easily and this all starts right from the caregiver, the adolescent themselves, the health facility as well as the government. There is need for continuous sensitization of the public on HIV basically to cover the transmission modes and the safety measures that can be taken, this will eventually help people to stop stigmatizing and discrimination of individuals living with HIV, this will in the long run promote adherence to treatment