When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world have implemented a wide array of measures to protect their citizens. But what has remained the same for people everywhere is the importance of having access to lifesaving HIV antiretrovirals (ARVs) and other medicines.
To tackle a restrictive quarantine in the Philippines and ensure over 1,000 clients remain adherent to their HIV treatment, AHF Philippines collaborated with its partner treatment and care facilities (both public and private) to create an innovative model for service delivery – ARVXpress. The initiative provides uninterrupted medicine refills for HIV and opportunistic infections via convenient and safe home deliveries throughout the entire national capital region.
“Despite a vast community quarantine, the health department issued a national advisory mandating that all HIV facilities maintain their usual services,” said AHF Philippines Country Program Manager Nenet Ortega. “ARVXpress is vital for that requirement, as it puts ARVs directly on clients’ doorsteps. This reduces exposure to COVID-19 and helps them safely adhere to local and national guidelines to stay home. It also protects healthcare workers by limiting close interactions with clients.”
Clients also have access to medical providers through clinic visits and online and telephone consultations, as well as HIV testing as needed. Thanks to the efforts from nine partner sites and over 50 staff members, in addition to the ARV deliveries, nearly 5,000 clients have been served since the program’s start.
“ARVXpress began on March 15 and is still going strong!” added Ortega. “We are thankful for all AHF partners operating from different sites across the country—this would not be possible without them. Successful collaboration like this shows how even during the turmoil brought by the pandemic, we’re able to find inventive ways to prioritize the needs of HIV clients above all else.”