HIV and COVID: risks and benefits

The benefits of continuing to provide HIV services during the COVID-19 pandemic far outweigh the risk of additional COVID-19-related deaths, a mathematical modelling study has found. The analysis, which was supported by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization (WHO), shows that maintaining HIV services would avert 19 to 146 AIDS-related deaths per 10,000 people over 50 years, compared with 0.002 to 0.15 per 10,000 additional COVID-19-related deaths from exposures during HIV services. The study examined disruptions to four key HIV services: voluntary medical male circumcision, HIV diagnostic testing, viral load testing, and programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (WHO, 13 April 2021).