COVID Impact Report for Women Living with HIV 

To view the full COVID Impact Report for Women Living with HIV click here.

In March 2020 Aotearoa New Zealand went into a 6-week lockdown (Alert level 4) as a response to curb the rate of COVID 19 infection. An event which was unprecedented in Aotearoa New Zealand. The country also spent months in Alert levels, 3 and 2.

The purpose of the Positive Women Inc. COVID 19 Impact survey was to gain an insight into the impact the lockdown and various alert levels had on our members.

Isolation was a significant factor for many women. This is not surprising considering the circumstances, however, many women living with HIV already experience isolation due to their HIV diagnoses and the COVID lockdown would have compounded those feelings. Especially for women who went through lockdown alone and for refugee and migrant women who don’t have the support of extended family in Aotearoa.

Women’s Mental health and wellbeing were significantly affected throughout the lockdowns. Once again, this is not surprising considering the circumstances however as women living with HIV are reported to have higher rates of depression, anxiety (78%) and PTSD (62%)* than the general population, the COVID lockdowns would have exacerbated these feelings. With 73% of women worrying about the health of their children and family, 38% of women’s income was negatively affected and 29.41% of women reporting they struggled to pay for basic living costs such as food or accommodation, there have been many burdens and layers of anxiety for women to work through. Add to this, many were unable to access medical appointments, (one woman went without her HIV meds for 2 weeks).

With this information, we aim to identify areas of ongoing support, post lockdown, required by members to assist in recovery.