The response to Covid-19 can learn much from how countries in southern Africa handled the HIV pandemic. A new report by UNAIDS says the coronavirus pandemic is a chance to reimagine health systems.
American scientists have developed an injectable drug that blocks HIV from entering cells. They say the new drug potentially offers long-lasting protection with fewer side effects and could eventually replace drug ‘cocktail’ therapies.
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.
Systemic racism has left people of colour exposed and unprotected against global health threats such as HIV for decades. These inequities are magnified by the disparity seen in Covid-19 health outcomes.
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.