COVID increases vulnerabilities for people living with HIV

By Jacqui Croxon | Thailand in Pacific Asia

Representative image. Photo by ckturistando via Unsplash.

Fai* had been living in a major city in Thailand for a number of years. She’d initially arrived as a migrant from a neighbouring country and, at that time, was extremely unwell from the effects of HIV.  

By God’s hand, Fai connected with the local SIM Hope for Life ministry, through which she got access to treatment and medication. She made a miraculous recovery and started a new life, managing her HIV well, finding employment and thriving in new community. 

When Fai met her current partner, she moved from the city to live in his village, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Since then, the Hope for Life team had some contact with Fai, but not on a regular basis due to distance and the introduction of COVID restrictions.  

Recently, Fai reached out to the Hope for Life team to tell them she had returned to the city. That was when she mentioned she had not taken her antiretroviral (ARV) medication for over three months. ARV medication is a vital part of managing HIV. Taken correctly, ARVs can support people living with HIV to lead long, healthy lives. However, non-compliance or skipping doses can cause issues in the longer-term as the ARVs become less effective. 

As a means of protecting its community from COVID-19, the village where Fai was living had imposed strict controls on people entering and exiting. To leave the village and get her ARVs would have required Fai to quarantine for 14 days upon return. This would have kept Fai from working for two weeks. With the necessity of income for food and shelter, Fai had decided to forego her ARVs once her supply had finished. 

We praise God that, for now, Fai is not showing any signs of ill health as a result and has resumed taking her ARVs.  

Unfortunately, Fai’s story is not an isolated one. SIM’s Hope for Life teams around the globe are reporting many similar stories for people living with HIV whose access to ARVs has been limited or cut off due to COVID lock downs and restrictions.  

This issue of access is just one of the inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated, resulting in further vulnerabilities for already disadvantaged and marginalised communities – a tangible reminder of the need to end inequalities, end AIDS, end pandemics

Pray with us 

- For Fai’s health and continued access to ARV medication. 

- For people living with HIV to have treatment and resources available to minimise potential higher impacts they face from COVID.  

- For SIM’s Hope for Life network of ministries, as they each raise awareness about HIV, combat stigma, and tangibly love those affected by HIV and related issues. 

To contribute to the work of Hope for Life Thailand, visit our donation page, select the country nearest you, and use project number 98382. 

*Name changed.  

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Publicador de contenidos

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Publicador de contenidos

Related stories

Testing and care change futures like Yetunde's*

Spring of Life Centre, based at ECWA hospital in Egbe Nigeria, is changing people's futures through services geared to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Read Yetunde's* story to find out more.

Jewel shines with Shalom’s care

When Ratna, still a young girl, discovered she was HIV positive she thought her life no longer had any value. With care from SIM and Hope fo Life's partners 'Shalom', she began to shine again.

New videos tell story of hope

To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Hope for Life in Thailand have commissioned a series of videos documenting how God changed the nature of HIV care as they ministered His love. Read and watch their incredible story.

Equalise : World AIDS Day, 2022

This year we, are urged to ‘Equalise’– to deal with the inequalities that are hindering progress towards ending AIDS. For more than 20 years, across 12 countries, SIM's Hope for Life projects have been seeking to do just that.