Africa: In the Covid-19 Panic, Let’s Not Forget That HIV/Aids Is Still Very Much With Us

This week is a big one for epidemics. Today is World Aids Day. On Thursday the UN General Assembly holds a special session on Covid-19. Although it seems there’s growing political commitment to ending Covid-19, it also seems like another epidemic, Aids, is fast being forgotten. There will be a price to pay.

Today is World Aids Day, the 32nd since the day was declared in 1988 as part of a strategy to try to break the silence around HIV.

But in addition, on Thursday and Friday the United Nations General Assembly holds a special session (UNGASS) on Covid-19 where we will witness a line up of heads of states making pious promises and commitments to Covid-19 prevention and treatment.

This year is also the 19th anniversary of the first UNGASS ever to be dedicated to a disease – Aids. That was held in June 2001 and led to a Declaration of Commitment that contributed to accelerating progress in the fight for HIV treatment.

Yet, for all the lip service, both epidemics are out of control.

By Monday, Covid-19, caused by a virus which is only a year old, had notched up more than 62 million cases, including nearly 1,5…

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