COVID-19 jeopardizes health gains

COVID-19 has severely set back efforts to control HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria as fewer people sought diagnosis and treatment, others were unable to access treatment, and public health resources were diverted to address the new pandemic, The New York Times reports. A report from The Global Fund found that in 2020, compared with 2019, the number of people who sought testing for HIV declined by 22% and those opting for HIV prevention services decreased by 12%, with the number seeking voluntary medical male circumcision dropping by 27%. One million fewer people were tested and treated for TB, likely leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths, while malaria diagnoses dipped slightly. Before COVID-19 emerged, global efforts were making strides against HIV, TB, and malaria. Deaths from these diseases have been halved since 2004 (The New York Times, 7 September 2021).