Abstract and Introduction
Introduction: This short report describes the results of a survey that was developed by Public Health England (PHE), the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Children's HIV Association (CHIVA) and circulated to all UK national health service HIV providers in the UK following the first wave of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]) pandemic to assess the impact of the pandemic on HIV clinics.
Methods: The survey was created by BHIVA/CHIVA and PHE and was piloted prior to circulation to all HIV clinics within the UK on 3 July 2020. The survey questions were designed to assess the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on HIV clinics and lead/senior HIV clinicians. Clinicians' responses were collected between 3 July 2020 and 17 September 2020. The survey responses were collated, and non-statistical analysis was performed.
Results: The results of the survey confirmed that services had undergone substantial changes, including a shift from face-to-face consults to predominantly virtual consultations. Some clinicians' responses suggested that the first wave had many negative effects on people living with HIV, including their ability to access mental health services.
Conclusion: The first wave of COVID-19 caused significant changes to HIV services within the UK. There was a shift toward the use of technology in healthcare, and results from subsequent clinician surveys carried out since the first wave of COVID-19 will reflect the ongoing transformation of care towards a more virtual service.
Following the rapid global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]) in early 2020, healthcare services worldwide had to rapidly adapt services to reduce transmission and accommodate the swiftly increasing inpatient burdens with widespread redeployment of staff.
This report describes the results of a survey that was circulated by Public Health England (PHE), the British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Children's HIV Association (CHIVA) to all national health service (NHS) HIV providers in the UK in July 2020 following the first wave, capturing clinicians' experiences of the initial impact of COVID-19 on HIV services within the UK.
At the time of the survey circulation, the UK was recovering from the first wave of COVID-19, with data from the Office of National Statistics reporting fewer than 1000 new cases per day and an R rate of 0.7–0.9. The incumbent prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced on 17 July 2020 that the total lockdown was to be gradually lifted, with—for example—imminent permission to use public transport and the opening of gyms, pools and other sports facilities.
The aim of the survey was to describe how HIV services responded to the first wave of the pandemic and to evaluate the impact of these measures on people living with HIV and their families. HIV care is complex, and describing the experiences of HIV clinics during the first wave may provide useful information not only on how HIV services and other specialties could respond to future pandemics but also how they could deliver services in the future with an increased emphasis on remote care.
HIV Medicine. 2022;23(10):1098-1102. © 2022 Blackwell Publishing