HIV/AIDS in the COVID-19 pandemic: End Inequalities, End AIDS

HIV/AIDS in the COVID-19 pandemic: End Inequalities, End AIDS

HIV continues to be a significant public health issue throughout the world affecting almost 38 million in the year 2020.1 More than two-thirds of these people live in the WHO African sub-region. Statistics show that, in 2020, over half a million people died from HIV-related causes and nearly two million people were newly diagnosed with HIV.2

Over the years, there has been progress in the mitigation of HIV/AIDS. However, the global 95-95-95 targets proposed by UNAIDS have not been met, and efforts would need to be augmented to accomplish these benchmarks.3The failure to meet these goals can be attributed to a variety of factors. Among these factors are a disruption in HIV services during COVID 19, as well as disparities in the distribution of ARTs and HIV services. Approximately 15 million HIV-positive people do not have access to antiretroviral therapy, which may compromise their immune systems.3 A large proportion of these individuals are located in the African sub-region. The lack of access could be attributed to poverty, stigma4-6 and discrimination, unemployment, increased cost of healthcare and dependence on other individuals for a source of income especially in the case of adolescents living with HIV. These situations have been compounded by COVID-19 and underscored in articles, particularly those written in the United States4. Some of these articles highlight the fact that African Americans have been particularly affected by COVID 19 and are vulnerable to developing health complications as a result7-11. To elaborate more on this, new research indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on healthcare financing, management systems, and access, which may aggravate vulnerabilities among individuals especially in children and youth in Sub-Saharan Africa.12, 19

COVID 19 has not been shown to produce worst outcomes in individuals living with HIV13, 14, however, studies suggest that it causes severe illness in immunocompromised individuals.4, 15, 16 If persons living with HIV do not gain access to ARTs due to the factors already listed above, they are more likely to have an immunocompromised system and thus suffer severely not only from COVID 19, but also from other opportunistic infections7, 17, 18. Encouraging longer multi-month prescription of ARTs and identifying barriers to access to healthcare services could provide better relief to people living with HIV and ensure that the inequality gap is Pharma Breaks Lobbying Record Defending High Drug Prices and Vaccine Patents stanoprime buy genuine anabolic steroids online, buy anavar australia – ramalan narpani mandram bridged.

That persons living with HIV across different populations have a huge discrepancy in the incidence of COVID-19 needs to be carefully looked at.12, 6The socio-economic factors that marginalize racial minorities must be addressed to subdue these disparities. It is imperative to continue to assess the pandemic’s effects over time for individuals living with HIV4 as well as to develop proactive supports for this marginalized group during this crisis to ensure an end to the inequalities in the treatment of AIDS and subsequently end HIV/AIDS.

Credit: Dr. Gwendolyn Adoteye, Dr. Isaac Baiden


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12. Enane, L. A., Apondi, E., Aluoch, J., Bakoyannis, G., Lewis Kulzer, J., Kwena, Z., Kantor, R., Chory, A., Gardner, A., Scanlon, M., Goodrich, S., Wools-Kaloustian, K., Elul, B., & Vreeman, R. C. (2021). Social, economic, and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents retained in or recently disengaged from HIV care in Kenya. PLOS ONE, 16(9), e0257210.

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15. Waterfield, K.C., Shah, G.H., Etheredge, G.D. et al. Consequences of COVID-19 crisis for persons with HIV: the impact of social determinants of health. BMC Public Health 21, 299 (2021).

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18. Ridgway JP, Schmitt J, Friedman E, Taylor M, Devlin S, McNulty M, et al. HIV Care Continuum and COVID-19 Outcomes Among People Living with HIV During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Chicago, IL. AIDS Behav. 2020;24(10):2770–2772

19. International Labor Organization (ILO): Socio economic impact of COVID-19 towards people living with HIV and key population: Rapid assessment report, 2021