Pandemic slows HIV progress

AIDS: Earlier diagnosis will lead to quicker treatment

CORONAVIRUS pandemic slows Africa’s HIV progress

While Africa has made great strides in the treatment and prevention of HIV in recent years, the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic means that many people are missing out on life-saving interventions due to hospital shortages, allocated funds being diverted elsewhere and citizens being afraid to travel to treatment centres.

Dr Gilber Tene, who works at Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, told DW: “Patients are reluctant to come to the hospital. We need those patients at the hospital to keep on counseling, to provide them with drugs and to provide them with any other support”.

UNAIDS published a report in 2018 that showed the number of new infections in the region had dropped by 30%; however, fears are now growing that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic could see global HIV rates rising by 290,000.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) contributes 20% of the global budget to combat AIDS; however, these funds are now being stretched to cover coronavirus in many African countries.

“My nightmare scenario here is that the GFATM finds itself also dealing with COVID — but with the same amount of money,” GFATM head Peter Sands said. “In which case, we will make less progress on all four diseases and more people will die.”

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Written by

Sarah Keane

Former teacher and health services manager with a Degree in English, Sarah moved to Spain from Southern Ireland with her husband, who runs his own car rental business, in 2019. She is now enjoying a completely different pace and quality of life on the Costa Blanca South, with wonderful Spanish and expat friends in Cabo Roig. Sarah began working with Euro Weekly News in 2020 and loves nothing more than bringing all the latest national and international news to her local community.

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