Women and girls are at increased risk of HIV in coronavirus lockdown

Women and girls are at increased risk of HIV in coronavirus lockdown

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Johannesburg: The coronavirus lockdown has disrupted the fight against HIV infection in women and girls worldwide, limiting their access to education and protection from sexual violence, the United Nations warned on Monday.
According to a United Nations study on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), governments’ attention to combat the epidemic has diverted attention and resources from protecting vulnerable populations from HIV.
“It thrives on inequality and Kovid-19 is threatening to land us,” said Winnie Bayanima, executive director of UNAIDS at a press conference.
Bayanima said, “The lockdown has brought a high risk of violence against girls. Millions of people are out of school today. Women in the informal sector have stripped off their income.”
The United Nations had also previously warned of an increase in domestic violence under lockdown, as a call for doubling or tripling on the helpline in some countries, with the lockdown implicating many women with their abusers.
UNAIDS highlighted the risk of domestic violence and HIV infection for women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for 59% of new HIV infections in the region in 2019 before the coronovirus epidemic. Prior to the nationwide lockdown, progress in sub-Saharan Africa was seen through individual programs helping women fight HIV infection.
This progress will be hindered as it becomes difficult to access medical supplies. UNAIDS estimated that by the end of 2021 there could be one and a half million AIDS-related deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Everything is focused on Kovid-19 as if the HIV epidemic has ended,” said Gracia Violet Ross, founder of the Bolivian Network of People’s Living of HIV / AIDS.
“Those of us who have survived HIV and fought for life and treatment and care cannot do so much to achieve victory,” Ross said.
UNAIDS urged to increase investment in both HIV and Kovid-19, citing an Ebola outbreak in West Africa that could be wrong.
It is estimated that health services that were rebuilt to fight Ebola were disrupted, causing 10,600 deaths from malaria, AIDS-related illness and tuberculosis.
“We must not forget the HIV / AIDS response,” Iswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini said in the briefing. “We should make sure that no one is left behind.”

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