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23.03.2020

Relevant Resources on COVID-19 and HIV, TB and viral Hepatitis

[Latest update - 03.08.2020] In times of a pandemic crisis, we must keep protecting human rights, and continue addressing discrimination and stigma.

Therefore, we have linked relevant information on COVID-19 and HIV, TB and viral Hepatitis:

The COVID-19 Law Lab initiative gathers and shares legal documents from over 190 countries across the world to help states establish and implement strong legal frameworks to manage the pandemic. The goal is to ensure that laws protect the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and that they adhere to international human rights standards. The Lab is a joint project.

AFEW International released the COVID-19 report “Interruption and Innovation” with an overview of disruptions of and responses to prevention, treatment and care for key populations at risk for HIV, TB and viral hepatitis due to Covid-19 in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

This resource was developed as part of a monitoring exercise to document the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and related measures on sex workers’ access to health services. Whilst the resource does not intend to be exhaustive and final, it gives a detailed overview of the issues faced by sex workers in accessing health services, and brings focus on some specific needs and demands of sex workers in Europe and Central Asia. In particular, it highlights the crucial work done by community-led organisations to fill the gaps in health services, protect sex workers and their families from risks of COVID-19, HIV and STIs and support their safety and security.

The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) has set up a facebook group to collect and share evidance related to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic in regards to HIV and co-infections. It aims to share updates and resources from trusted sources about science, policies and implications of the pandemic as well as to increase knowledge on a community level.

In this page you will find a list of resources shared by ILGA World to help you: tools for remote working as you adjust your working lives, names of e-learning platforms, software to conduct webinars and so many more.  But we also want to think of your wellbeing: as many countries are increasingly shutting down, you will find here a list of queer-themed books, podcasts, shows, movies and music to enjoy to fight isolation while being at home.

In times of crises, it is those living in the margins that suffer the most. There are reasons to believe that trans communities are – and will be – disproportionately affected by COVID-19. This impact is being felt most severely by trans people who are homeless, sex workers, disabled, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, poor, and/or elderly who are negatively impacted. We stand in solidarity with trans people worldwide affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and want them and their loved ones to be as safe as these times allow. Transgender Europe (TGEU) has set up a subpage on the topic of COVID-19 and trans people with resources and other recommendations. 

The International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE), a network of more than 100 organisations supporting sex workers has published its demands to European institutions and national governments, including emergency income replacement, a moratorium on fines, arrests and prosecution related to sex work and immigration status, access to health care for all and regularisation of undocumented migrants.

This rapid assessment aims to document in a structured manner the perceptions of people living with and affected by HIV and that of organisations providing services to affected communities about the way in which COVID-19 impacts their health, well-being and access to HIV related prevention, treatment and care. This assessment has its limitations and biases (little time to develop the tool, questionnaire only available online and only in English, limited time the survey was open). Nonetheless, this rapid assessment provides a snapshot of information, concerns and solutions shared by respondents in several countries during the week of 27 March to 3 April 2020.

As the world struggles with a new global pandemic, law- and policymakers are taking drastic measures in an attempt to minimise the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The situation continues to evolve rapidly and, as it does so, our liberties are being limited in unprecedented ways. We remind law- and policymakers that each and every limitation of rights should satisfy the five criteria of the Siracusa Principles, as well as be of a limited duration and subject to review and appeal.

The current public health crisis raises serious additional concerns for the wellbeing of people who use drugs, ensuring service continuity for those with drug problems, and the protection of those offering care and support for this population. The purpose of this briefing is to highlight emerging risks linked to the COVID-19 pandemic for people who use drugs and those providing services for them from a European perspective, and where necessary to encourage planning, review and adaption of frontline and specialist drug interventions.

The guidance provides useful information to staff and health care providers working in prisons, and to prison authorities. It explains how to prevent and address a potential disease outbreak and stresses important human rights elements that must be respected in the response to COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. Access to information and adequate health care provision, including for mental disorders, are essential aspects in preserving human rights in such places.

People Who Use Drugs can be considered as a risk group in the COVID-19 epidemic. They often live at the margins of society with low or no access to housing, employment, financial resources, social and health care, and face systematic discrimination and criminalisation in the majority of countries. Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, together with the Rights Reporter Foundation, published a joint position on the continuity of harm reduction services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Many sex workers come from communities that already face high levels of marginalization and social exclusion including people living in poverty, migrants and refugees, trans people and drug users. Sex workers who are the primary earners in their families, or who don't have alternative means of support are at risk of being forced into more precarious and dangerous situations to survive. ICRSE is calling for national governments to urgently act to ensure that sex workers, along with their families and communities, can access social protections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is currently no clear evidence that people living with HIV are at an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 or of becoming more ill from it. However, many people living with HIV are ageing and/or have other health conditions, including heart disease or lung disease, that are known to make people susceptible to more severe COVID-19 disease. UNAIDS published ressources on "What people living with HIV need to know about HIV and COVID-19".

 

UN human rights experts urged States to avoid overreach of security measures in their response to the coronavirus outbreak and reminded them that emergency powers should not be used to quash dissent.

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If there are any questions about the resources or you would like to get in contact with us, please write to: info@aidsactioneurope.org.


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