SDG target: End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and neglected tropical diseases.
Current evidence shows that people living with HIV are at increased risk of death due to COVID-19. But the indirect effects of the pandemic are also worrying.
Disruptions to health services could mean people don’t get antiretroviral therapy (ART), which would result in more deaths and more infections (because viral loads are higher in untreated patients, they are more likely to transmit to others). So far, this worst-case scenario has not happened, although some countries are struggling to maintain services. One innovation that seems to be helping is multi-month dispensing—a simple approach that helps people fit treatment into their lives and keeps them out of overburdened clinics. Even after COVID is under control, this will be a more effective, efficient way to dispense ART.
This graph doesn’t show it, but HIV prevention is suffering, according to other sources. We are working to limit these COVID-related disruptions and continue the long-term trend of more people accessing both prevention and treatment services.