Covid-19 disrupts fight against HIV

Source: Covid-19 disrupts fight against HIV | The Herald

Covid-19 disrupts fight against HIV
Godfrey Mudariki

Senior Reporter Farirai Machivenyika

The Covid-19 outbreak has disrupted provision of HIV and Aids and tuberculosis services, a Senate Thematic Committee heard on Monday.

This was said by Zimbabwe Aids Network director, Mr Godfrey Mudariki, when he appeared before the Senate Thematic Committee on HIV and Aids.

Mr Mudariki said the restrictions brought about by the need to curb the spread of the Covid-19 resulted in a decline in the number of people seeking services on HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis.

“We note with concern that there has been disruption in HIV and Aids response not only in Zimbabwe, but within the Sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

“We note that the number of people receiving HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis services has declined and this is due to the restrictions depending on the level of the lockdown.”

Mr Mudariki said the diversion of resources from the fight against HIV and Aids to efforts to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic should be dealt with urgently if the gains made in curbing HIV and Aids were not to be negated.

“We have made positive gains in improving the lives of people living with HIV and Aids and we risk losing the gains we have made over time,” he said.

Mr Mudariki said urban areas were the worst affected with volunteer community workers failing to discharge their duties adequately due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

He said the 90-90-90 target would be unachievable if the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic were not addressed.

The 90-90-90 target seeks to have 90 percent of people with HIV tested, with 90 percent of those being on anti-retroviral therapy and 90 percent with undetectable viral load by 2030.

Zimbabwe has made significant gains in curbing the HIV and Aids pandemic, with the prevalence rate around 11 percent from a high of around 25 percent.