Is coronavirus making it harder to treat other diseases in Africa? | Inside Story

The coronavirus pandemic is putting enormous strain on health systems worldwide.
In some countries that means resources are being diverted from other treatments.
Patients with illnesses such as HIV, tuberculosis or malaria risk having their treatment interrupted.
A joint study by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS says deaths from HIV-related illnesses could double in Sub-Sahara Africa if therapies are disrupted for six months.
What should be done to ensure health services don’t neglect other critical diseases?

Presenter: Bernard Smith

Guests:
Shannon Hader – Deputy Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme UNAIDS
Regina Osih – Senior Technical Expert in Tuberculosis and HIV at The Aurum Institute
Anna Marriott – Health Policy Leader for Oxfam International.

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In This Story: HIV

The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of Lentivirus (a subgroup of retrovirus) that infect humans. Over time, they cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.

Without treatment, average survival time after infection with HIV is estimated to be 9 to 11 years, depending on the HIV subtype. In most cases, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and occurs by contact with or transfer of blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, and vaginal fluids. Research has shown (for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples) that HIV is untransmittable through condomless sexual intercourse if the HIV-positive partner has a consistently undetectable viral load.

Non-sexual transmission can occur from an infected mother to her infant during pregnancy, during childbirth by exposure to her blood or vaginal fluid, and through breast milk. Within these bodily fluids, HIV is present as both free virus particles and virus within infected immune cells.

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