Saving HIV drugs risk running out as COVID-19 hits supplies

Henrietta Brewer
July 7, 2020

Four years ago, the United Nations set goals for limiting HIV infections and improving treatment by the end of 2020, and all will be missed because the coronavirus pandemic is hurting access to care, the report concludes.

World Health Organisation Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the findings were "deeply concerning".

In 2019, an estimated 8.3 million people were benefiting from ARVs in the 24 countries now experiencing supply shortages.

A survey released in June by the NGO Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria found that across 106 of the countries it works in, 85% had reported disruptions to their HIV services, 78% to tuberculosis services, and 73% to malaria services.

As part of the MMD strategy, the Ministry of Public Health has joined efforts with peer educators from the Network of People living with HIV who provide support door to door to deliver ARV drugs to PLHIV's homes throughout the country in addition to offering Covid-19 screening to these populations.

Progress against HIV also is being hurt by another infectious disease - the new coronavirus. Wider use of antiretroviral drugs is thought to be behind the trend.

In the same year, roughly 200,000 people have died from AIDS-related illnesses, and these deaths have continued to escalate.

According to a 2019 report from UNAIDS, there are 97,000 people living with HIV in the Philippines, of whom 43,000 are on antiretroviral treatment.

He has now gone more than 57 weeks with no HIV treatment and he continues to test negative for HIV antibodies.

Those groups, he said, included "men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, people who inject drugs and prisoners". It says health authorities should consider "multi-month dispensing" for AIDS drugs - a policy whereby medicines are prescribed for up to six months.

At the IAS conference, World Health Organization will highlight how global progress in reducing HIV-related deaths can be accelerated by stepping up support and services for populations disproportionately impacted by the epidemic, including young children.

Photo (c) gevende - Getty ImagesEfforts to end the threat of the novel coronavirus could result in one million extra deaths from other diseases, according to a soon-to-be-published report by the International AIDS Society. "Now is the time to redouble our efforts, build national unity and global solidarity to tackle both the COVID-19 pandemic and diseases like HIV", he said.

"As we have seen with HIV, and as we now see with COVID-19, epidemics affect everyone but they do not affect everyone equally". "This will give us another new tool to reach children living with HIV and keep them alive and healthy".

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