COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities in fight against HIV/Aids - MSF

On World Aids Day officials have been reflecting on changes in the last few months and how easier access to treatment could and should still be guaranteed.

FILE: A nurse conducts an HIV test at a voluntary testing centre. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Tuesday said while COVID-19 may have interfered with programmes aimed at helping those living with HIV and Aids, new opportunities were also created.

On World Aids Day, officials have been reflecting on changes in the last few months and how easier access to treatment could and should still be guaranteed.

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Strategies such as the United Nation’s 90-90-90 initiative have run into some challenges because of the coronavirus. The strategy is an ambitious plan which sought to have 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV receiving treatment, and 90% viral suppression all by 2020.

Dr Liesbet Ohler from MSF said without proper monitoring it had been difficult to determine if these targets were on track.

However, Ohler is encouraged that the pandemic has created space to re-evaluate traditional methods of doing things.

“COVID-19 made people around the world realise the importance of bringing treatment closer to the community [and] adapting health systems in a way that people don’t need to be told they need to come in,” Ohler said.

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The 90-90-90 strategy was a major success in parts of KwaZulu-Natal specifically in Eshowe, where, with the help of Doctors Without Borders, the community was able to exceed its target achieving 90-94 and 95.

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