Studies show that the dapivirine vaginal ring offers new hope as an additional HIV prevention option for young women in Africa, lowering the health risk factors associated with HIV infections.
The lockdown has impacted on South Africa’s ARV treatment programme, delaying the South African National Aids Council national strategy. Yet, Covid-19 has also brought with it innovations in treatment and prevention for HIV, TB and STIs.
Deborah Birx, a member of President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR), told the 23rd International AIDS conference that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, they have continued to achieve most of their HIV sustainable development goals set for 2020.
The World Health Organization and UNAIDS has warned that if efforts are not made to mitigate health services and supply interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic,the disruption of antiretroviral therapy could cause 500 000 more deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020–2021.
“In the face of a seemingly hopeless scientific and humanitarian challenge, scientists and activists joined together to accelerate the development of breakthrough treatment and biomedical prevention tools,” reads the 23rd International Aids Conference website.
“Communities are important – as some of great ideas might not generally come from the top, but they can come from the bottom,” says Gregorio Millett of the American Foundation for Aids Research.