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The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that access to HIV drugs has been severely impacted by COVID-19.

According to a new WHO survey conducted ahead of the International AIDS Society’s biannual conference, 73 countries have warned that they are at risk of stock-outs of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs amid the pandemic, while 24 countries reported having either 'a critically low stock of ARVs or disruptions in the supply of these life-saving medicines.'

"In 2019, an estimated 8.3 million people were benefiting from ARVs in the 24 countries now experiencing supply shortages. This represents about one third (33%) of all people taking HIV treatment globally. While there is no cure for HIV, ARVs can control the virus and prevent onward sexual transmission to other people," the WHO noted.

"The findings of this survey are deeply concerning," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "Countries and their development partners must do all they can to ensure that people who need HIV treatment continue to access it. We cannot let the COVID-19 pandemic undo the hard-won gains in the global response to this disease."

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