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

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

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.

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

STDs Rates Appear To Be Quietly Skyrocketing As Fewer People Get Tested And Treated During The Pandemic

STDs Rates Appear To Be Quietly Skyrocketing As Fewer People Get Tested And Treated During The Pandemic Image

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) cause a greater health risk and economic burden to the masses. Millions of people are infected with this problem every year. In 1995, STDs were accounted for to be around 87 percent of all cases among the main ten illnesses in the USA.

Now, the years have passed, but not much change is there. The rates of STDs are quietly skyrocketing, especially during these challenging times of the pandemic. People are refraining themselves from going to hospitals for checkups due to the risk of infection. With this, very few people get tested and treated during corona times.

The STD Infection

When a person comes in contact with STDs, he/she starts feeling troubling changes in their bodies. It includes a burning sensation while peeing, painless, but firm rashes and sores on the skin. While some people are infected yet, they do not see any of these symptoms.

Whether people believe it or not, but most of the victims of Sexually Transmitted Diseases also suffer from diseases like syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc. These people must go through screening to prevent them from spreading the infection, knowing or unknowingly to other people. 

People who are prone to developing an infection due to sexual contact or needle-sharing must go for checkups. They need a proper test for STDs and HIV. If they turn out to be positive, they must admit themselves to the health care center for proper treatment. If the treatment is left unchecked, it can lead to issues like infertility or even death. 

How Does It Spread?

STDs always spread from one person to another person through sexual intercourse. They spread mainly from anal and vaginal intercourse, and less from oral intercourse. Some other blood-borne pathogens like hepatitis B virus, Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I, and HIV can spread through genes as well. 

Children usually inherit this infection from their parents and then have to live along with it for the whole life. Similarly, pregnant women with STDs can pass this infection to the infants while they are still in their womb, during the birth of the baby, or while breastfeeding.

The Corona Impact

These days the main issue is that most of the public health departments deal with the coronavirus treatment. They are not available to pay due attention to diseases like STDs and HIV. However, if not taken care of, the negligence poses greater risks to the sexual health of the larger audience. 

The rates of STD are increasing every day, and if the situation remains the same, we would have to deal with a big health issue and economic burden in the coming years. The issue deserves national attention. 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/understanding-stds-basics#:~:text=STDs%20are%20sexually%20transmitted%20diseases,syphilis%2C%20and%20trichomoniasis%20are%20STDs.

https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex

COVID-19 Has Interrupted STD Screenings; Sexual Health Centers Are Concerned

COVID-19 Has Interrupted STD Screenings; Sexual Health Centers Are Concerned Image

When the cases of COVID-19 started increasing at a faster rate, most of the countries announce lockdown. With the interest of the public, and proper obedience, the stay at home order came into action. During this sexual health centers in some places were allowed to keep their operations going on. 

  • The decision taken was not to cause any negligence and delays in STD screenings, which can lead to further problems. 
  • Sexual health centers had an order to remain open under a few conditions that they stop elective procedures and follow social distancing norms. It was to be taken care of by both the patients and staff.

However, things didn’t go as easy as it sounds. The safety measures involved to prevent coronavirus interrupted the walk-in testing for STDs in some of the health centers. Most of the centers were those that served patients without any health insurance. 

  • People were scared of getting exposed to the risk of COVID-19 by going for check-ups. So, this led to fewer people getting tested. It is a worrying fact as it may lead to an increase in the rates for syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea
  • In Philadelphia, a survey conducted by the National Coalition of STD Directors, came out with an estimate that 83% of STD programs have stopped, and no community visits are happening. 
  • Around 66% of clinics reported that STD screening and testing had been decreased due to the pandemic. 

Importance of STD Screenings

It is important to undergo STD screening, if you are sexually active, especially with multiple partners. It is to prevent the risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and stay protected. To take care of this, usually, people go to clinics and health care centers to get tested. However, there’s another option.

  • Nowadays, screening kits are gaining popularity to deal with this problem. 
  • The use of at-home screening kits is available for STIs like HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. 
  • To test STI at home, you need to collect a urine sample, an oral, or a genital swab. This sample will then go to a lab for analyzing purposes. 

To conduct certain tests, more than one sample is required. The benefit of screening kits is that you get the privacy to collect your samples without the need to visit a health care center or doctor.  

However, the samples collected through the screening kits don’t always provide accurate results. So, you need to contact your doctor or visit a public clinic to get the results confirmed, in cases where your test result was negative, but you are experiencing symptoms.

Final Words

The concern of sexual health centers regarding STDs is fair. However, in these challenging times, the best possible solution seems to be in the use of screening kits by most of the people.

References:

https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/staying-in-hiv-care/other-related-health-issues/coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/930983

https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/covid-19/index.html

Current COVID-19 Pandemic as A Trauma Trigger for Gay Men Around the World

Coronavirus Lockdown May Help Reduce The Spread of STDs Image

A recent article was written by Alex Bitterman, a professor, and chairperson in the Department of Architecture and Digest at SUNY Alfred State seems to be what everyone is talking about. In his article, Alex Bitterman is comparing the effects that two pandemics have had on the global population, especially on gay men. He is comparing the current COVID-19 pandemic with the AIDS/HIV pandemic that happened in the early 80s. 

As he explains, the current pandemic is similar to the one that had happened when AIDS/HIV first occurred. Much like then, we are now practicing self-isolation and social distancing as a way to protect ourselves during these rather uncertain times. Although not many may remember, this is exactly how gay men have been feeling when HIV/AIDS first struck the Earth. 

Knowing nothing about the new disease, having no vaccine, or treatment available that they could rely on is similar to how the entire world is feeling now whenever they think about COVID-19. Alex Bitterman explained his current situation as one filled with panic – a situation that serves a trauma trigger for anyone who has been living through the HIV/AIDS pandemic since it has first started. 

To make things even worse, COVID-19 has spread even quicker than HIV/AIDS, affecting every continent and almost every country in a matter of a few months. But there is one difference that he reminds us of and that is – COVID-19, unlike HIV/AIDS does not focus on impacting the gay and bi men in the world, but rather does not choose whether it will be children, men, or women of any age that will be affected by it, potentially even putting an end to their lives if they shift their focus for only a minute away from following the provided prevention guidelines. 

For COVID-19 it does not matter whether you are rich, poor, black, white, young, or old as we have seen so far. Any gay/bi man who has been affected by HIV/AIDS could confirm that HIV/AIDS comes more than just the characteristic symptoms, it also comes with shame, guilt, and discrimination that these men are feeling because of the disease that has entered their body and live. 

Alex Bitterman also talks about how important it is not to let that happen to anyone who has been affected by COVID-19. He alerts that now is the time to focus on finding a solution, a treatment, that will stop this pandemic from spreading even further. And we could not agree with him more. Faced with such a horrible situation, we need to work together on finding a cure and a vaccine that can help us protect the most fragile ones. And maybe we can use this experience that we have now to make a better effort at finding a solution for anyone who has been affected by HIV/AIDS in the future.

References

https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2020/5/11/many-gay-men-current-pandemic-triggering-hivaids-trauma

Coronavirus Lockdown May Help Reduce The Spread of STDs

Coronavirus Lockdown May Help Reduce The Spread of STDs Image

Novel coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19, has spread across the globe in a relatively short timeframe. The number of new infections keeps increasing and governments are introducing new, stricter measures to keep their citizens safe and prevent the pandemic from spreading even more. Coronavirus lockdown has changed our lives in many ways. People need to work from home, kids don’t go to school, everything has changed. What’s more, coronavirus lockdown may help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How can COVID-19 reduce the spreading of STDs?

The primary reason why STDs spread is that people engage in risky sexual behaviors and practices. It’s not uncommon for men and women to have multiple sexual partners. All these things can increase the likelihood of developing STD and spread it to other people who, then, go on to pass on the infection to someone else. The cycle continues! That being said, coronavirus lockdown has basically “forced” people to stay home. They no longer meet up with multiple men and women. At the same time, they do not practice risky sexual behaviors. In turn, the likelihood of STDs decreases and so does the chance to pass them on to someone else. 

It’s also worth noting that COVID-19 has increased stress and anxiety in millions of people around the globe. Both stress and anxiety decrease libido thus making a person lose interest in sexual activity. This could also be a reason why coronavirus lockdown could reduce spreading STDs to other people. Nobody wants to get infected so any type of contact with other people is reduced to a minimum. In fact, you are your safest sexual partner

Can I get COVID-19 through sex?

Novel coronavirus disease has sparked many debates and raised a lot of questions, particularly because it’s a new condition and little is known about it. That being said, there is no evidence nor confirmation by any health regulatory body that people can pass on COVID-19 to their partner through sexual intercourse. However, you can spread the disease through close physical contact. You see, the virus is spread through tiny infected droplets that you expel when sneezing, coughing, or exhaling. Then, these droplets can reach the nose or mouth of the other person and the infection is spread.

Conclusion

Coronavirus lockdown could reduce the spread of STDs in many ways. People limit their physical contact with other people, but also stress and anxiety have a negative impact on their sex drive. Bear in mind that protecting yourself from COVID-19 requires regular hand-washing and maintaining social distancing, as well as other safe practices recommended by healthcare experts. By protecting yourself you are actually protecting other people. 

References 

https://www.tht.org.uk/news/dont-hook-during-covid-19-lockdown