Several countries across the globe have warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral medicines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new survey conducted by the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS ahead of the International AIDS Society’s biannual conference, 73 countries reported having either a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in their supply.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General notes that a six-month disruption in access to ARVs could lead to a doubling in AIDS-related deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 alone.
He urges countries to do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it in order not to let COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease.
A failure of suppliers to deliver ARVs on time and a shut-down of land and air transport services, coupled with limited access to health services within countries as a result of the pandemic, were among the causes cited for the disruptions in the survey.