Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on global leaders and citizens to rally for “global solidarity” to maintain essential HIV services during COVID 19.
In a news release, the WHO also called “on countries to provide health workers with greater protection and support so they can continue their work safely during the pandemic”.
The organisation said researchers are currently investigating whether people with HIV have an increased risk of poor outcomes with COVID-19.
Results from 25 studies on COVID-19 patients living with HIV shows that two-thirds (66.5%) had mild to moderate symptoms. Among patients who died, the majority (90.5%) were over 50 years old and had multi-morbidity (64.3%).
The Caribbean region has made significant progress in reducing AIDS-related deaths.
The number of people dying of AIDS-related deaths have decreased from 11,000 in 2010 to 6,900 in 2019. During that same period, the region also saw a reduction of new HIV cases down from an estimated 18,000 new cases to 13.000 per year.
“Efforts must continue to sustain and improve the progress that has been achieved in the fight against HIV. The CARICOM region will only have continued success if we acknowledge and address the challenges affecting those living with or vulnerable to contracting HIV. The need for a multi-sectoral response is even greater in COVID-19 times. We have to take innovative steps towards the global goals so that our Region’s promise to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 can become a reality,” stated Dr Joy St. John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency.
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