The world has made significant progress since the late 1990s, but HIV remains a major global public health issue. And like many other major health issues, it faces additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services are all being disrupted particularly in countries with fragile heath systems. The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 is threatening lives. Any slowing down in provision of these services will leave many vulnerable populations at greater risk of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths. Nevertheless, all over the world, health workers and community representatives are doing their utmost to keep services going, adopting innovative ways to overcome disruptions in services caused by COVID-19.
On 1 December WHO joins partners in paying tribute to all those working to provide HIV services, and in calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19 and beyond. It is a call to focus on vulnerable groups who are already at risk and expand coverage to children and adolescents. And in 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery. We can all contribute to the effort to end AIDS and make the world a healthier place.