COVID-19 outbreak threatened the lives of more than 3000 people living with HIV on treatment in Goa, inclusive of around 330 children and adolescents, who are on life-long ART medicines.
The team of Human Touch Foundation consisting of Peter F. Borges, Venicia Fernandes, Basavaraj Katti and Celina Menezes initiated ARV distribution at home ever since the lockdown on 21st March 2020. More than 200 people living with HIV were assisted with home delivery of ARVs.
The health officials at the ART centres provides the list of beneficiaries to be delivered the ARVs after taking their consent. Alternatively, a lot of beneficiaries connect to the organization directly for supply of ARVs. Most of them are overwhelmingly the poor and rely on state-run transport, which is free for them, to collect their treatment. Hence this service was very essential.
The coastal state of India known for tourism has also have a lot of domestic as well as foreign tourists stranded in Goa. So far, 15 foreign nationals were assisted, besides another 8 from other states, with either free ARVs from National AIDS Control Programme or procured from neighbouring states from private druggists.
Along with ARVs, Human Touch Foundation also provided essential groceries consisting of rice, lentils, grams, oil and milk for more than 100 children/adolescents living with HIV and their families. Detoll soaps and masks were also provided with the package. The COVID-19 response is supported by Youth LEAD, Saleve Foundation, UNAIDS India, Just Imagine Trust, Lupin Welfare and Research Foundation, Society of Pilar (Goa Province), Hindustan Coca Cola Private Limited and Rotary Club of Panaji Riviera.
The organization is also providing online psycho-social support to all the registered children and adolescents living with HIV and their families.
UNAIDS Asia Pacific featured the COVID-19 response of Human Touch Foundation through a web story which can be accessed at