- Title: WHO 'deeply concerned' as global AIDS response disrupted due to COVID-19 crisis
- Date: 10th July 2020
- Summary: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (FILE - MAY 18, 2020) (REUTERS) WHO DOOR WHO ENTRANCE
- Embargoed: 24th July 2020 16:47
- Keywords: AIDS Geneva Tedros United Nations WHO coronavirus
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Reuters ID: LVA007CM89F0N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday (July 10) expressed deep concern on the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on the global response to AIDS, including the access to medicines.
In recorded message, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a new survey conducted by the U.N. agency showed that access to antiretroviral medication (ARVs) against HIV has been "significantly curtailed as a result of the pandemic."
According to the survey, 73 countries are at risk of exhausting ARVs, with 24 among them currently having "critically low" amounts of life-saving medicines, due to air transport and supply chain disruptions brought about by coronavirus lockdowns around the world, he said.
Although more than 25 million people now have access to ARVs, Tedros said progress is stalling because HIV prevention and testing are not reaching those who need them the most.
WHO is especially concerned on mother-to-child transmissions of HIV, as Tedros said 150,000 children was infected with the virus last year and 95,000 have died.
"If these essential health services are not maintained, there is a risk that more people will die from lack of access to health care than from COVID-19," Tedros said.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani, Ardee Napolitano)
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