To help us spread messages of support from our family to yours, we recently connected with Eugene Nam, CANFAR National Ambassador, and asked him to share his experience living through the pandemic.
How has it been having your family abroad during this time?
My parents are doing well and healthy, and the COVID-19 situation in South Korea seems to getting more contained. We have a family group chat, and we text each other daily to check in. We did have a big family trip planned for May which won’t be happening. I am sad that I may not be able to see my parents in person soon. It’s been 3 years since I saw my parents in person.
How are you staying in touch with your loved ones?
I have regular, weekly check-in calls with my loved ones. Technology is fabulous. A couple of weeks ago, I participated in an online cooking class hosted by my dear friend. We made fresh pasta from scratch, and it was one of the most delicious dishes I ever made! I plan to host an online wine & paint night with my friends very soon.
As someone who is studying social work, what is your perspective on what we can learn from COVID-19 to help improve the health outcomes (e.g. care, access barriers) for PHA?
I think the COVID-19 pandemic is shedding light on the issue of health equity. Many people living with HIV are affected by health inequities associated with gender, race, and sexual orientation. This can negatively affect people’s ability to navigate the healthcare system and to receive appropriate treatment and care.
We need strategies that focus on eliminating systemic- and policy-level barriers so that we can tackle the root causes of health inequities. Many community-based organizations are mobilizing their resources to support their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear to me that these organizations are best positioned to support people living with HIV. Let’s make sure that we are empowering each individual and community affected by health inequities through meaningful dialogue and engagement throughout the entire process.