Monday 30th November 2020
The German Foundation for World Population (DSW) has warned against going backwards in the fight against AIDS because of the corona pandemic. “We must not allow the containment of HIV and AIDS to be sidelined,” said DSW managing director Jan Kreutzberg on Monday in Hanover on World AIDS Day.
The corona crisis has already noticeably slowed the fight against HIV, especially in countries with low and middle incomes. The foundation referred to the example of Uganda, where the number of HIV tests fell “by a worrying 40 percent” in April. In addition, the corona pandemic has worsened inequalities between the sexes.
“We are experiencing an increase in gender-based and sexualised violence, an increase in unintended pregnancies and an increase in HIV infections among girls and women worldwide,” said Kreutzberg. Even without Corona, young women in parts of Africa south of the Sahara are particularly affected by HIV. Girls between the ages of 15 and 19 were infected there four times more often than their male counterparts.
According to the foundation, the corona crisis is “a wake-up call” to governments and civil society to work to make basic health care possible for all and to achieve equality. In order to protect girls and women in particular from HIV infection, preventive measures such as comprehensive sex education, better access to condoms and greater protection against sexual violence are needed.
According to the information, 1.7 million new HIV infections were registered worldwide last year. Two-thirds of this (64 percent) are in sub-Saharan Africa.