In the Democratic Republic of Congo, prevalence of HIV is low compared to other countries on the continent but the pandemic has had an effect in the provision of care.
One HIV patient speaks about his experience.
” Before, we used to have food rations, that doesn’t exist anymore, that’s all in the past. The medical care, the financing in the HIV sector, all that no longer exists.
The coronavirus or Ebola eclipsed the HIV. This is not possible. So, I’m asking that the funds for the HIV sector to be really consistent, otherwise people will die”, said Jean Louis Toye Kopema, an HIV patient in DRC.
A recent report by the UN suggested that COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions have badly disrupted HIV testing around the world.
In Africa, this has led to significant drops in HIV diagnoses, referrals to care services and HIV treatments.
Munsana Gashinge, regional coordinator of the HIV/AIDS national program, adds:
“In terms of supply, we depend a lot on medicines coming from abroad. We need to advocate so that we don’t have a break in terms of supply. And, as per the funding, with the arrival of COVID and Ebola, the funding tends to be down. So, we need to continue the advocacy with our partners to increase funding and not abandon HIV”.
According to UNAIDS, in 2019, 4.9 million people in West and Central Africa were living with HIV.