Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted population health around the globe, directly and indirectly. The objective of this study was to document changes in HIV care associated with the COVID-19 pandemic at selected clinics in Central Africa, along with clinic-level strategies for minimizing disruptions in HIV care and treatment for people with HIV (PWH). Methods A 51-item questionnaire on COVID-19 pandemic-associated changes in HIV service delivery was completed by clinicians involved in HIV care at 21 clinics in five countries participating in Central Africa International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (CA-IeDEA). The survey was completed at two timepoints: June-July 2020 and October 2020 to February 2021. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize changes in HIV care and related services. Results While 81% of sites reported at least one negative consequence of COVID-19 for clinic operations during the first survey, none reported suspending antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation services for new patients, and 24% reported adopting telemedicine. In the follow-up survey, fewer sites (48%) reported at least one disruption to clinic operations, and more sites reported mitigation strategies, including expanding rapid ART initiation services and providing extra supplies of ART medications to reduce visit frequency. In the follow-up survey, more sites, especially in Rwanda, reported stockouts of commodities, including HIV and viral load testing and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. More than one-fifth of sites reported stockouts of second- or third-line ART at each survey timepoint. Conclusions While the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in concerning disruptions to HIV service delivery at CA-IeDEA sites, most of these disruptions attenuated over time, and many sites introduced measures to help PWH avoid frequent visits to the clinic for care and medications. The impact of HIV commodity stockouts and clinic mitigation strategies on treatment outcomes needs to be assessed.
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