Opinion: To fight AIDS, we must stop the spread of Covid-19

The answer is that we must fight two global health crises, AIDS and Covid-19, at the same time.

As we mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Americans’ lives are slowly returning to normal. But in other places, especially in countries above sub-Saharan Africa – like South Africa, where scientists first discovered a new variant of the coronavirus called Omicron – the pandemic still poses a major threat. Furthermore, In some sub-Saharan countries, Like Botswana, vaccines are in short supply and fear is abundant. To defeat AIDS and Covid-19, our leaders must treat these twin crises like the global emergency they are.
After nearly two years of tackling both AIDS and Covid-19 simultaneously, a sobering truth has emerged: Persevering and advancing two decades of AIDS progress will require stopping the spread of Covid-19 first . World leaders have merge behind the goal of vaccinating 70% of the world’s population by September 2022. But what is needed now is more funding and resources from rich countries and the private sector to ensure doses are purchased and management for everyone, everywhere.
The pandemic is affecting communities around the world, but the impact is particularly severe for the most vulnerable, including those with HIV and other medical conditions. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to about two thirds of people living with HIV, according to UNAIDS, but less 5% population is Fully vaccinated against Covid-19, making these individuals extremely vulnerable to Covid-related illness and death.
Omicron coronavirus variant is an important test for Biden
Estimate from UNAIDS showed that Covid-19 could cause up to 293,000 new HIV infections and an additional 148,000 AIDS-related deaths between 2020 and 2022. And for the first time in 20 years since its inception, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international global health organization fighting the epidemic, has reduced HIV testing rates by 22% and access to people with HIV prevention services by 11% by 2020 in countries where the Global Fund investment demand.
Covid-19 also puts women and girls in the world’s poorest countries at higher risk of HIV infection. By 2020, women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 63% of all new HIV infections, up from 59% in 2019, according to UNAIDS. In many poor countries, such as Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), one of the countries with the highest adult HIV prevalence in the world, the threat of poverty posed by Covid-19 has placed women and girls in vulnerable situations. extremely vulnerable situations to obtain basic needs such as food and money.
The good news is that the institutions and systems built to fight AIDS have been agile and responsive to the pandemic. For example, programs supported by the Global Fund have adapt quickly to the challenges Covid-19 poses by distributing months-long rounds of antiretroviral drugs so people have fewer visits to the doctor’s office. And organizations like the Coordinating Council of Non-Governmental Organizations, which organizes one-on-one HIV prevention sessions for girls and adolescent women, have used Grants of the Global Fund to move its sessions online.
How to fight Covid-19 while scientists wait for answers on Omicron
The bad news is that while many of these health systems are holding their own right now, they are hanging by a rope and facing lingering headwinds from an unequal and unbalanced global pandemic response. full. Covid-19 vaccines are arriving in Africa at a faster rate than antiretroviral treatments during the AIDS crisis in the early 2000s, but according to experts at Campaign ONE, an organization that seeks to eradicate poverty and preventable disease by 2023, in current progress rate, low-income countries may not achieve Covid-19 vaccination levels consistent with other high-income countries for another decade. Not only is this morally disgusting, but it prolongs the fight against other diseases like AIDS.
Fortunately, the next few months are ripe for the world to help contain Covid-19 and get the AIDS fight back on track. In the first quarter of 2022, the United States will play server to an important summit of world leaders revolving around fighting the pandemic. And earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that the Global Fund will host its upcoming additional conference in the United States next year. By hosting the conference, the United States is sending a clear signal of its commitment to ending the pandemic, but other rich countries and the private sector must step up the fight and commit more resources.
We all have a role to play in ending global health crises from AIDS to Covid-19, and it’s now easier for ordinary Americans to support robust global health systems than ever before. end. Companies are often financial competitors work together to allow customers to use their rewards points to fight Covid-19 and save lives. Brands are collaborating to create their products Red – color of emergency – to help raise awareness and pledge money to fight AIDS and Covid-19. And the game industry is Fundraising to provide lifesaving relief where it is most needed.

One of the biggest lessons of the AIDS crisis is political leadership and global solidarity. In the early days of the fight against AIDS, political leadership was conspicuously absent, with many heads of state for years refusing to acknowledge the existence of the deadly virus. Only after the general public and world leaders began demanding action did we slowly put HIV on the protection list. While political leadership has emerged more on Covid-19, until world leaders and the private sector respond to the demands of this crisis, more variations, like Omicron , will appear and more lives will be lost.

Nearly four decades into the fight against AIDS, our challenge is to ensure that all HIV-positive people have full access to treatment. That won’t happen until everyone, everywhere has full access to a Covid-19 vaccine.


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