Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the AIDS response

A report from the Global Fund reveals that COVID-19 has greatly disrupted health systems and health service delivery for HIV, Tuberculosis, and malaria in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia in 2020.

This report accentuates the urgent need to scale up adaptive measures to continue HIV, Tuberculosis, and malaria service.

The data in this report shows that for a six-month period in 2019:

  • The Testing for HIV dropped to 41%
  • Some Patients who were suspected of having TB were referred to the next step of diagnosis and treatment. This treatment was declined by 59%
  • The diagnosis of Malaria fell by 31%
  • Antenatal care visits fell by 43%

Currently, Activities are being cancelled due to short and long lockdowns, restrictions on gatherings of people, transport blockages, and COVID-related stigma.

COVID-19 is killing the same number of individuals every month as diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Nonetheless, the death toll from these three diseases increased as a result of the knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdowns, resources diverted towards the search for the cure of the new virus, and interruptions to lifesaving services.

According to a large new study, individuals living with H.I.V. are more likely to become severely ill with Covid-19 and more likely to die if hospitalized than others infected with the coronavirus. The result also found that almost half of H.I.V.-infected men older than 65 who were hospitalized for Covid-19 may die. The data is especially pressing because many countries with high numbers of people with H.I.V. are battling surges of the coronavirus, fueled by the contagious Delta variant and a dearth of vaccines.

Once a pandemic stops being a threat to life, the urgency drops, the focus shifts, and resource flow dwindle. This is what’s happened with earlier pandemics, such as HIV and AIDS, and tuberculosis. Even though HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria still kill millions of people each year across multiple countries and regions, these diseases are no longer talked about as pandemics but are generally called epidemics, or endemic diseases.

However, the last year has been very distinct. The COVID-19 crisis has taken centre stage, and among the less reported consequences of the pandemic are its impacts on efforts to fight life-threatening diseases like malaria and AIDs. Where COVID-19 is disrupting health services, it is important to adapt to ensure that the most vulnerable are still reached

The way forward

  1. Government and policymakers should ensure that the same attention is given to all life-threatening diseases
  2. Just like bodies were established for Covid intervention, more bodies should be empowered to fight common diseases and infections like Malaria, Tuberculosis, and AIDS
  3. Individuals who combine AIDS, Tuberculosis, or Malaria with Coronavirus should be considered medical emergencies and treated as soon as possible.

Testing for COVID

 The importance of reliable and available testing to screen for the Covid19 virus has become increasingly understandable.

The development of accurate and rapid diagnostic testing is vital to control virus outbreaks. These tests must be susceptible, valid, and scalable as medical screening of coronavirus relies highly on past infections, clinical demonstration, and nautical tests including the screening of viral nucleic acid by a swab test, CT scan, and immune identification technology.

You can book a coronavirus test or get your same day PCR test carried out at our Leicester clinic.

Click here for more information. Covid Test London

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