How COVID-19 caused a shortage of AIDS Medicine especially to Africa

COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in more ways than one. The mysterious virus has changed the way we work, interact with other people, spend our time, among other things. Yet another major consequence of COVID-19 is the impact on the treatment of AIDS across the globe, especially in Africa.

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What’s going on?

The results of the WHO survey carried out ahead of the International AIDS Society’s biannual conference showed that 73 countries have warned they are facing stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) medicines. The shortages of AIDS medications are caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, 24 countries reported having disruptions in the supply of ARV or critically low stock.

The above-mentioned survey followed a modeling exercise that revealed that a six-month disruption in access to AIDS medicines could double AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. What’s even worse, this awful scenario could occur in 2020 alone. The true impact of the shortage of AIDS medicines could be far more devastating in the years to come.

How does COVID-19 cause a shortage of AIDS medicine?

As seen above, the novel coronavirus disease pandemic has caused shortages of AIDS medications worldwide, particularly in Africa. But it’s impossible not to wonder why. It would be difficult to pinpoint one specific reason, but the shortage could be down to the failure of suppliers to deliver ARVs on time. 

With the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe many nations decided to close their borders. Lockdown was imposed on local and national levels. This has led to shutting down both land and air transport services. The delivery of ARVs wasn’t the exception. Yet another reason behind this current situation is the limited access to health services within the countries.

Progress is stalling

The World Health Organization explains that progress in the reduction of AIDS and HIV and death cases associated with them is stalling. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to affect the fight against AIDS. Many scientists agree that the pandemic should not be an excuse to divert investment from HIV. 

The right to health means one disease shouldn’t be fought at the expense of the other. In other words, the treatment of HIV and AIDS should not be sacrificed for the sake of fighting COVID-19. This is particularly the case in Africa where people have limited access to medications and without proper treatments, the hard-work to keep AIDS under control could be jeopardized.

Bottom line

A recent survey showed that the COVID-19 pandemic caused shortages in AIDS medications. The disruptions in delivery and administration of ARVs could have drastic consequences. Health organizations should strive to keep their focus on AIDS while continuing their fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

References 

https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/06-07-2020-who-access-to-hiv-medicines-severely-impacted-by-covid-19-as-aids-response-stalls

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