Prevent HIV infections during a new pandemic – World

Report shows major disruptions in HIV prevention program service linked to COVID-19, but highlights that innovations and adaptations of HIV services are possible

JULY 01, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens decades of hard-won development and advances in public health. UNAIDS is committed to playing a central role in ensuring that people living with and affected by HIV have the information and support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages the necessary development and supports to ensure access to HIV prevention and treatment services. continues without interruption.

Launched in 2017, the Global HIV Prevention Coalition aims to bring new momentum and clarity to HIV prevention programs, focusing on 28 countries bearing the heaviest burden of the HIV epidemic. The Global HIV Prevention Coalition has released a new report, Prevent HIV infections during a new pandemic:* a ** summary report on program disruptions and adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 **, * which provides a summary of the state of HIV prevention programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, identifies critical vulnerabilities, risks and major service disruptions and documents responses in various contexts. The report focuses on collecting information on program innovations at the community level.

“The COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing hard-won gains in HIV prevention, including the 23% reduction in new infections since 2010. And this is at a time when much remains to be done to reduce significantly new HIV infections. Gaps and threats to progress show great inequalities, and HIV prevention services and societal barriers for those most left behind, such as key populations and adolescent girls and young women, have been hit hard. disproportionate by COVID-19, ”said Shannon Hader of UNAIDS. Deputy Executive Director for Programs.

Inevitably, significant disruptions in HIV prevention services have been observed and the supply chains of essential HIV prevention commodities, including condoms, lubricants and antiretroviral and other drugs, have been stretched. The report reflects the early declines seen in the monthly number of people served by critical HIV prevention programs, including huge declines in the number of voluntary medical male circumcisions performed compared to the corresponding previous months.

At the same time, while it has clearly exposed and increased inequalities and inequalities in health, COVID-19 has also shown how to make health systems and other public institutions fairer, more inclusive and better. able to meet the challenges of ending the AIDS epidemic. Health service providers and community organizations have responded to the crisis by changing the way they deliver HIV prevention services and minimizing disruptions to essential services.

The report highlights innovations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and adaptations of HIV-related services, including the multi-month distribution of condoms, lubricants, needles, syringes and pre-prophylaxis. -exposure (PrEP), differentiated service delivery and self-testing approaches, alternative access points for prevention products such as condoms and PrEP, take-home doses of opioid substitution therapy for people who inject drugs, the safe continuation of outreach services for key populations and adolescent girls and young women and virtual platforms for prevention interventions — and calls at their scale – even at – beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The report further highlights how the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn on HIV experts and communities and taken decisive early action to address critical vulnerabilities, sustain health services and create synergies between pandemics collide.

“In over 30 years of developing effective prevention approaches, we have gained substantial knowledge and experience that policy makers and implementers of health programs can use in low- and middle-income countries to make the best choices possible in preventing SARS-CoV-2, “said Dr Hader.” The most urgent needs we hear from communities are the protection of livelihoods: how do people eat , are they living, taking care of themselves and surviving COVID-19? UNAIDS can help negotiate services for people, “she added.

The report will support all stakeholders in their preparation of applications for the Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response Mechanism to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, ensuring that proposal writing teams identify innovations and key HIV prevention adaptations that could be supported and scaled up to regain HIV globally. prevention and mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV-related services.

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