Thematic Area 1:
HIV and Social Protection in the Context of COVID-19:
Challenges and barriers for PLHIV and key populations to access social protection
Inad Intervention – Day 1
In 2018, I suffered from fistula – an anorectal condition that some PLHIV also experience. (Fistula may be caused by any other factors, not only HIV). The fistula needed surgery. Before the surgery, the hospital required an HIV test. It was mandatory.
Because of my HIV status, my insurance did not cover the expenses for the surgery. I also have to pay additional 30%, because in effect, I needed to pay the equipment they used in my surgery in compliance to “American Safety Standard”, as how they called it.
If a country’s main legal frameworks do not fully support the key populations, it follows that it will not cover HIV in the social protection schemes. I meant the insurance laws, labour laws, health benefits, and applicable “safety standards”.
Inad Intervention – Day 2
Reflections and recommendations from a PLHIV moving forward:
- The Insurance scheme in Nepal issuing policies to PLHIV can be considered as a case of good practice. Although, I must admit that I need to go back and look into the some details of such arrangement. Irrespective of uncertainties, this insurance scheme must be explored especially the feasibility of replicating the same to other countries;
- As a PLHIV, I recommend that we start discussion the declassification of HIV status, using the principles of Undetectable=Untransmittable, into that of the same classification as diabetes or hypertension;
- We must re-define ‘inclusion’, and be clear how the PLHIVs, key populations, and communities be meaningfully included as part of this bigger initiative to provide social protection.