COVID-19 response limits HIV prevention

HIV prevention services are among those most disrupted by restrictions designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reports Open Democracy and the Mail & Guardian. In 24 interviews conducted by Open Democracy, an independent global media organisation, health workers and sex workers in Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda reported devising creative ways to ensure that registered HIV patients continue receiving drugs for treatment. But HIV testing, pre-exposure prophylaxis, drop-in centres for vulnerable groups, and voluntary medical male circumcision — services vital to detecting and preventing new HIV infections — have been scaled back or closed. Similar HIV service reductions were reported in March to an International Planned Parenthood Federation survey of its network of clinics in 10 other Africa countries (Mail & Guardian, 4 June 2020).