A group of doctors under the auspices of UNAIDS has calculated that, if efforts are not made to overcome disruptions in the provision of medical services and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, about half a million AIDS patients will die due to cessation of antiretroviral therapy.
There are many different reasons that can lead to service interruptions, but modeling shows that a pandemic is becoming one of them. In addition, interruptions in the care of HIV-infected people may also have some effect on morbidity next year.
“The dreadful prospect that another half a million people, especially in Africa, will die from AIDS-related diseases due to the influence of the coronavirus,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization.
When treatment is performed, a person’s viral load drops, preserving that person’s health and preventing further transmission of the virus. When a person cannot regularly take antiretroviral therapy, this can ultimately lead to death and new infections.