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The Use of ICT in Providing HIV Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study among Filipino HIV Volunteers

Maria Charlize S Cebedo  -  Integrated School, De La Salle University, Philippines
Francesca Isabelle U Dela Cruz  -  Integrated School, De La Salle University, Philippines
Louis Zenen S Dela Cruz  -  Integrated School, De La Salle University, Philippines
Aliya Francine Q Mojica  -  Integrated School, De La Salle University, Philippines
*Jerome Visperas Cleofas orcid scopus publons  -  Department of Sociology and Behavioral Sciences, De La Salle University, Philippines
Open Access Copyright (c) 2022 Nurse Media Journal of Nursing
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Abstract

Background: The COVID-19 public health crisis has caused disruptions in the continuum of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) services. Hence, HIV advocates and care providers must innovate to ensure the health and welfare of people living with HIV (PLHIVs) and other at-risk populations. There is a lack of empirical research that explores the experiences and perspectives of HIV volunteers in adapting to pandemic-related challenges.

Purpose: This qualitative study aimed to describe the use of information and communications technology (ICT) in the provision of HIV services of Filipino volunteers during the pandemic. 

Methods: Qualitative descriptive study design was used, focusing on ICT use for HIV care. Sixteen (16) purposively selected volunteers from three community-based organizations (CBO) were interviewed using a semi-structured guide via videoconference. Inductive qualitative content analysis was used to draw insights from the data.

Results: Findings revealed that volunteers used various ICTs such as social media, videoconferencing, dating sites, and online-based courier services to ensure continuity of HIV services. However, volunteers noted challenges in using ICT for HIV services, such as limited access to digital resources, increased work demands, and lack of human connection.

Conclusion: Various tools and implementations of ICTs have been used by volunteers to ensure the continuity of services of PLHIVs. This study provides insights to nurses and informaticists in implementing digital technologies in caring for vulnerable clients during outbreaks like COVID-19.

 

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Keywords: Community health services; COVID-19; HIV infections; social media; technology; volunteers

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