‘Nation buckling under weight of a triple pandemic collision’ght charge unvaccinated people more for new policies
“With Covid-19 becoming the most onerous and expensive public health undertaking in modern history, our public health system is wedged beneath the crippling impact of a triple pandemic collision – Covid-19. HIV and tuberculosis (TB). In the race to stem the Covid-19 tidal wave, the silence in the conversation around HIV has been deafening, wrote Judi Nwokedi chairperson of the AIDS Consortium in SA in Sunday Independent (1 August 2021)
“The free-fall drop of over 50% in HIV and TB testing and monitoring since the advent of Covid-19 is a devastating setback. Despite the devastating Covid-19 death toll (69 775 as of July 26, 2021), TB and HIV/AIDS remain the leading causes of death in South Africa.
Figures from the SA National AIDS Council (SANAC) reveal that 72 000 people died of AIDS-related causes in 2019, and 200 000 new HIV infections were recorded. Current HIV and TB setbacks were entirely preventable had SA had better preparedness in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals. The dire conundrum is that in the context of Covid, with South Africa being home to the largest population living with HIV (7.7 million in 2019), more effort and investment is required to ensure vulnerable communities don’t continue to fall through the cracks.”