Unprecedented decline in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria due to Covid-19

Covid-19 has had a “devastating impact” on the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, which has seen an unprecedented decline, the Global Fund to Fight these diseases lamented in its annual report.
For the first time since its inception in 2002, the Fund is reporting setbacks, including concerns about significant declines in HIV testing and prevention services for key and vulnerable populations, and a sharp decline in the number of people tested and treated for TB, with a particular impact on programs to control drug-resistant TB.
The 2020 numbers “confirm what we feared when Covid-19 came along,” summarized Peter Sands, executive director of the Fund, as quoted in the report. “The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating. For the first time in our history, our key indicators are down.”
Covid-19 has severely disrupted access to health systems, testing and treatment in many countries. In particular, the pandemic has had “catastrophic” consequences in the fight against tuberculosis. In 2020, the number of people treated for drug-resistant TB fell by 19%.
On the HIV front, Covid’s impact is also significant. The number of people reached by AIDS prevention programs decreased by 11% in 2020, by 12% among younger populations. So far, malaria programs appear to have been less affected by Covid-19, the report continues.
The number of screenings of people suspected of having malaria fell by 4.3% in 2020. And progress in containing the disease has stalled, the Fund laments.
The Global Fund is a unique partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and patients. Half of its funds go to the fight against AIDS and half to malaria and tuberculosis. Since its creation in 2002, it claims to have saved 44 million lives.