December 1 is World AIDS Day. On this day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) joins partners in paying tribute to all those working to provide HIV services, and also calls on global leaders and citizens to rally for ‘global solidarity’ to maintain essential HIV services during COVID-19 and beyond.
According to WHO, the world has made significant progress since the late 1990s, but HIV remains a major global public health issue. And like many other major health issues, it faces additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care services are all being disrupted particularly in countries with fragile heath systems. The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 is threatening lives. Any slowing down in provision of these services will leave many vulnerable populations at greater risk of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths,’ WHO said.
Nevertheless, all over the world, health workers and community representatives are doing their utmost to keep services going, adopting innovative ways to overcome disruptions in services caused by COVID-19.
To mark the day in Oman, Directorate General for Disease Surveillance and Control in the Ministry of Health (MoH) will hold a webinar – ‘Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis in Oman’. MoH officials will speak on achievements and challenges as well as the country’s success story.
WHO is calling to focus on vulnerable groups who are already at risk and expand coverage to children and adolescents.
‘In 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, it is a call for more protection and support to these health workers who have long been on the frontline of HIV service delivery. We can all contribute to the effort to end AIDS,’ WHO said.