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  • UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in press brief. Geneva, Switzerland. July 6, 2020.

    UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima in press brief. Geneva, Switzerland. July 6, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Winnie_Byanyima

Published 6 July 2020
Opinion

According to UNAIDS, about 1.7 million people tested positive for HIV, and 690,000 died due to the virus in 2019.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) Executive Director Winnie Byanyima Monday warned COVID-19 could cause HIV treatment disruption and lead to half a million deceased.

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“We must keep the world focused on the HIV epidemic, and also be relevant in fighting a new pandemic that has devastated the world. We can do both,”  Byanyima stated.

COVID-19 severely harmed AIDS response, and UNAIDS forecast Sub Saharan Africa’s situation could worsen, given the antiretroviral supplies cut during the pandemic.  

In that region, gender discrimination deprives young women of self-determination on sexual life and health, which increases their vulnerability facing the virus.

According to UNAIDS, about 1.7 million people tested positive for HIV, and 690,000 died due to the virus in 2019. So far, in 2020 the tally is approaching 40 million. 

The UN annual report on HIV stated that the international goal of reducing HIV related deaths and new HIV cases under 500,000 would not be complied with. 

 “Every day in the next decade, decisive action is needed to get the world back on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” Byanyima added.

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