International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
COVID-19 caused widespread disruption of activities for Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE). In this study we assessed public health perspectives on leveraging the COVID-19 response to advance the goals of EHE. We conducted a qualitative study with 33 public health partners in the Midwestern and Southern United States from October 2020 to February 2022. Participants were asked how the strategies developed for COVID-19 could be applied to the HIV epidemic. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and examined using rapid qualitative analysis. Four themes emerged: (1) Rebuilding teams and adapting culture for success in EHE activities; (2) Recognizing and modernizing the role of disease intervention specialists (DIS); (3) Enhanced community awareness of the public health role in disease response and prevention; and (4) Leveraging COVID-19 data systems and infrastructure for EHE activities. The COVID-19 pandemic called attention to the dearth of public health funding and outdated information technology (IT) infrastructure used for HIV activities. It also led to greater public health knowledge, including increased familiarity with partner services and molecular epidemiology of HIV, and opportunities to develop new data systems for surveillance that can be applied to efforts for EHE.
National Institutes of Health
contact tracing, COVID-19, data systems, EHE, HIV, information technology infrastructure, molecular epidemiology, partner services, public health
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Samantha A. Devlin, Moctezuma Garcia, Kayo Fujimoto, Camden Hallmark, Marlene McNeese, John Schneider, and Moira C. McNulty. "“Everything…Fell Apart Once COVID-19 Hit”—Leveraging the COVID-19 Response to Strengthen Public Health Activities toward Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Qualitative Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2022). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215247