HOW TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC, SECOND TIME AROUND
On 11th March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic. As the world is now reaching 1,000,000 infections many of us who have lived with HIV for a long time may have a strong sense of Deja Vue, and some may even experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as the current events could be triggering old trauma.
The fear of contagions, the groundlessness of uncertainty, facing our vulnerability to sickness and death, fearing to lose our loved ones, as people with HIV we have all been intimate with those difficult emotions. We have lived through 34 million people dying of AIDS in the past 30 years. Over 700,000 have died, just in the past year because of lack of access to ARVs. These numbers are likely to be going up as COVID-19 has the potential of creating havoc on health systems around the world.
However, as people with HIV, we also know that one of the greatest tools we have in the face of a pandemic is each other. We have learnt that when we organise as a community, when we create support networks, when we engage with decision makers and science, we can change the course of history, and halt a disease. We know this because this is what we have done in the past three decades to change HIV from a deadly virus to a condition we can live with, if we have access to care, treatment and support. Last night a woman at our first Zoom Virtual Group said: “As a person with HIV I feel lucky because right now I have real hope. I know, things can look dreadful and desperate. But we have done this before. I remember how we used to feel back in the days, how scared and full of fear we were. But we came through it, and I know we can do this again.”
Here at Positively UK we are all committed to continue nurture our sense of community and opportunities to connect with each other. It is not always easy to feel hopeful, but it always helps to talk, to be heard, to listen, to know that we are not in this on our own. I hope that in the coming weeks you will take advantage of our online groups and get in touch with our team, for a chat, to get information, or if you need any support. We are here.
Silvia Petretti, CEO