How UNAIDS helped the response to COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic of Iran – Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been clear that life will be much more difficult for people living with HIV.

Fardad Dorodi, UNAIDS country director in the Islamic Republic of Iran, said: “When experts determined how coronavirus affected people, it was clear that people with weakened immune systems needed a high level of treatment. care and attention. “We needed to be quick and quick to mobilize our resources and expertise to make sure no one with HIV was left behind.”

Over the course of the multiple waves of COVID-19 in the country, UNAIDS has provided critical support to people living with and affected by HIV, providing personal protective equipment and medicines, supporting NGOs with small grants to help communities, developing information, education and communication materials, and developing a framework for monitoring and evaluation at the community level.

Personal protective equipment, such as masks, shields, gloves and sanitizers, is a key tool in preventing the spread of viruses such as the virus that causes COVID-19. The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS provided 95 tons of personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and the State Welfare Organization for distribution through HIV-related NGOs. Items provided included 1.8 million face masks, 60,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and 40,000 boxes of rubber gloves, among other equipment.

Multi-month dispensation, ensuring that people living with HIV who are receiving treatment for HIV receive enough treatment for several months in order to avoid repeated visits to health centers, has been a central pillar of the HIV response in humanitarian crises and has been at the heart of the United Nations Program Joint Concern on HIV/AIDS. Efforts during the pandemic in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

To ensure that people receiving HIV treatment have access to life-saving medicines, UNAIDS has procured and delivered more than 650,000 doses of Vonavir, which covered the needs of more than 7,000 people living with HIV for nearly of three months, and more than 520,000 doses of Truvada, which covered the needs of nearly 3,000 people living with HIV for six months. More than 10,000 people have received treatment assistance with their medication through treatment centers located across the country.

Ten HIV NGOs have been awarded 26 small grants to increase community participation and help people living with HIV adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, reaching more than 14,000 people. Some of the grant-funded activities include income generation plans, home care services, online selling and commerce, mental health support, development of e-learning platforms, distribution of hygiene kits, food and medicine, and holding virtual events and forums. To increase awareness and reduce stress.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS has also helped create impactful information, education and communication materials to advance knowledge and build awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic. In collaboration with the National AIDS Programme, UNAIDS supported the production and dissemination of an animated series by a local NGO. The 16-minute animated series, divided into three episodes, covers topics such as HIV basics in relation to COVID-19, virus prevention in the context of HIV, the importance of continuing HIV treatment and addressing stigma and discrimination. . The videos have been shown across a number of online channels and platforms, and have garnered over 15,000 views so far.

UNAIDS has also developed and piloted a framework for monitoring and evaluation at the community level. This stemmed from field monitoring activities carried out with government partners and civil society organizations.

Online training sessions have been organized for more than 200 HIV-positive people and service providers. The sessions covered the basics of monitoring and evaluating HIV-related COVID-19 programs for NGOs. The objective was to improve the effectiveness of HIV monitoring and evaluation practices within the framework of the national strategic plan in order to improve the quality of HIV programs in the country.

“Relying on strong collaboration and partnerships has been fundamental to our rapid response during a rapidly changing time,” said Mr. Doroudi. “With support from donors, strong liaison with national counterparts and effective collaboration with other UN agencies, we have been able to be part of the overall support for people living with HIV, who have had to deal with the health, social and economic challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

UNAIDS’ response to COVID-19 in the Islamic Republic of Iran was funded from the European Union’s humanitarian aid budget and facilitated in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund. The Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the State Welfare Organization were the main government partners in a wide range of activities undertaken as part of the project.

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