The World Health Organization has warned that the world’s fight against HIV/AIDS has been severely impacted by the war against COVID-19.
The global pandemic has forced many countries to shift their health focus from other sectors to the battle to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A survey conducted by WHO shows that 73 countries are at risk of running out of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines.
24 countries have either reported a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in the supply of these life-saving medicines.
The WHO survey follows a modelling exercise in May which forecasted that a six-month disruption in access to ARVs could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 alone.
The survey pointed out to the COVID-19 restrictions such as travel disruptions and border closures as the reasons for the situation.
The WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom urged countries not to let the current COVID-19 pandemic stop critical HIV/AIDS care around the world.
“The findings of this survey are deeply concerning,” said Tedros.
“Countries and their development partners must do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it. We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease.”