What is COVID-19's impact on Black and Latino persons living with HIV?

February 22, 2021

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a disproportionate toll on low-income people of color, a research team headed by Marya Gwadz of the Silver School of Social Work at New York University set out to understand the ways the pandemic may put individuals at risk for adverse outcomes, and the ways they successfully adapted to and coped with the emerging pandemic, focused on those from low-socioeconomic status backgrounds who have lived with HIV for a decade or longer.

The team's newly published study explores the effects of COVID-19 on engagement in HIV care, HIV medication use and overall wellbeing during the early stages of the pandemic through a structured assessment of 100 low-income Black and Latino individuals who have lived with HIV for 17 years on average. In-depth interviews were conducted with 26 of these long-term HIV survivors.

The lead author, Marya Gwadz, is professor and associate dean for research at the Silver School of Social Work and head of the Intervention Innovations Team Lab (ITT-Lab), which carried out this research She is also an associate director in the Transdisciplinary Research Methods Core in the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) at the NYU School of Global Public Health.

The study was published online by Springer Nature.

"We were interested in risks but also in identifying 'indigenous coping strategies' and gaps that could be addressed for better future preparedness in times of crisis," Gwadz explained. "We define these as effective ways of managing health and wellbeing in the time of COVID-19 that emerge from the community, but are not necessarily strategies that researchers or experts would have come up with."

Among the findings: The study also examines implications for future crisis preparedness, including how the National AIDS/AIDS Strategy can serve as a model to prevent COVID-19 from becoming "another pandemic of the poor."
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To speak with Marya Gwadz, please contact the NYU press officer listed with this release.

New York University

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