More than 70 countries are at risk of running out of antiretroviral drugs due to COVID-19-related service disruptions, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) survey. Twenty-four countries reported critically low supplies or service disruptions preventing access to lifesaving treatment.
Twenty-four countries reported critically low supplies or service disruptions.The survey follows a joint WHO-UNAIDS modeling exercise conducted in May that made a grim forecast: A six-month disruption in access to antiretroviral treatment could lead to 500,000 additional deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone in the next year.
Of the 38 million people living with HIV in 2019, approximately 1 in 3 were not on antiretroviral treatment. According to the WHO, in the 24 countries that cited “critically low” supplies or service disruptions, about 8.3 million people were on antiretroviral treatment in 2019.
“The findings of this survey are deeply concerning,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Countries and their development partners must do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it.”