Report: COVID-19 has negatively impacted the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria
COVID-19 has severely set back key programs in fighting HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria, according to a report released by the Global Fund on Tuesday.
Why it matters: Before the pandemic, the world had been making strides against those three diseases, with deaths dropping by half since 2004, per the New York Times.
- Fewer people sought diagnosis or treatment because they were afraid of becoming infected with the coronavirus, per the Times, while others were denied care because they had COVID-19-like symptoms.
By the numbers: In 2019, an estimated 10 million people fell ill with tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization. And over 1.5 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2020, according to UNAIDS.
- The number of people treated dropped by 19% for drug-resistant TB and by 37% for extensively drug-resistant TB.
- HIV testing dropped by 22%.
- People reached by HIV prevention programs dropped by 11% while prevention services for young people dropped by 12%.
But, but, but: Malaria outreach was not as badly affected by COVID-19 as the other two diseases.
- The Global Fund distributed 188 million mosquito nets to protect families from malaria, a 17% increase compared to 2019.
What they're saying: “[The 2020 numbers] confirm what we feared might happen when COVID-19 struck,” Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, said.
- “Despite the horrible toll COVID-19 has taken, the pandemic presents us with a chance to build a better, more equitable and healthier world,” Sands added.