Covid-19 can strengthen fight against AIDS

No chance’ of death penalty for GBV insists Cyril Ramaphosa

Catherine Ngugi, head, National Aids and STIs Control Program (NASCOP), said that COVID-19 lockdowns and closure of health facilities disrupted supply of antiretroviral (ARVs) medication for an estimated 1.5 million Kenyan adults and children living with the Aids virus.

She (Nawanyaga) told ChimpReports that she witnessed an unfortunate incident where a young person living with HIV died because they could not travel to get their refills and a scheduled treatment for their other health scare - leukaemia with which they were grappling.

The deceased was staying in Arua district and used to get his check ups and leaukaemia management medication from the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala.

She said that nutritional support for HIV patients has been intensified in order to boost their immunity amid the risk of severe form of COVID-19.

COVID-19 has had a big impact on the uptake of HIV tests, especially amongst the at-risk population. In Pakistan, on the other hand, there was a 74% increase. "This survey is an indication of the critical gaps in access to testing, treatment and preventive care and shines a light on areas that can be strengthened, such as the implementation of telehealth to decentralize and reduce the burden on health systems, to prepare for future potential public health emergencies or disruptions". "But in 2019, we had 1,700,000 newly infected people with HIV and 690,000 AIDS deaths worldwide", he said, adding that at the end of 2019 globally there were 3.8 crore PLHIV. This indicates that the epidemic is still firmly established in the general population.

The "Impact of COVID-19 on access and delivery of HIV care in Asia Pacific" was conducted online, from October to mid-November 2020, in 10 countries and territories in Asia Pacific (Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam) by Kantar Health, funded by Gilead Sciences. We can not prioritise treatment over preventing new infections. The objective of the survey was to assess the current status as well as gaps and barriers to access to HIV care during COVID-19. 51% of PLHIV and 44% of individuals at-risk reported that they are concerned about accessing anti-retroviral medicines and prevention medications with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "After testing, you either take the two packages of Prevention and Care or treatment, thereby reducing the viral load".


Additionally, PEPFAR records a worrying 25% decline of HIV treatment initiation for many age groups and a 25% decline in HIV case identification based on reduced testing across all age groups.

"Even if we get to that brilliant target of zero new cases of HIV by 2030, there will still be a lot of us, like me, living with HIV", he said.

Moreover, the 90-90-90 goals set by UNAIDS to tackle HIV/AIDS have been jeopardized by COVID-19.

"There are impediments hindering people from knowing their HIV positive status in Ghana".

The Executive Secretary, OGSACA, Dr Kehinde Fatungase, hinted that poverty, low literacy level, stigma, discrimination, low political will, low use of condoms and risky sexual behaviour contributed to the increase of HIV in the state.

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