Efforts to beat the coronavirus pandemic could cause over 1 million extra deaths from other diseases, experts warn
USA As health services around the world continue to focus their resources on ending the coronavirus pandemic, they threaten to derail decades of hardwon progress in the response to HIV, TB and many other diseases. That’s according to a new report by the International AIDS Society publishing this week.
The society will raise its concerns during the 23rd International AIDS conference, which began Monday. Over the course of the week officials will be highlighting the impact the pandemic has had on control programs for HIV and other diseases worldwide adding to a series of fears raised in recent months.
“The social distancing efforts and lockdowns to control the spread of it (coronavirus), have disrupted HIV prevention and treatment programs and put vital HIV research on hold,” said Dr. Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society, last week, ahead of the conference. Various surveys proved this to be true, including one released in June by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, an international financing nongovernmental organization. It found that across 106 of the countries it works in, 85% reported disruptions to their HIV services and 78% and 73% to tuberculosis and malaria services, respectively. Nearly 20% reported severe disruptions for all three diseases.
Models by the World Health
Organization, Stop TB partnership and Imperial College London have predicted that such disruptions could lead to over 1 million extra deaths across these three diseases. For example, recent models commissioned by the World Health Organization and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that a sixmonth disruption to services in subSaharan Africa alone could lead to an extra 500,000 deaths from AIDSrelated illnesses in 2021. This is on top of a likely 470,000 deaths that would have occurred, based on 2018 numbers. This would take progress in HIV control back by more than 12 years. (CNN)