Image credit: Jeffrey Beall
Even as the world still struggles with the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic, it looks like there could be further health issues down the line — such as the looming shortage of HIV medication.
According to UNAIDS — or the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS — antiretroviral medications run the risk of running low as coronavirus-induced lockdowns have disrupted the supply chain. Should shortages happen, generic varieties of these antiretroviral drugs will probably Implement a price increase.
The looming shortages and price increases are especially harmful to low- and middle-income countries, and UNAIDS is calling on countries to plan ahead.
According to a statement from Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, it is urgent that countries “make plans now to mitigate the possibility and impacts of higher costs and reduced availability of antiretroviral medicines.”
Byanyima called on buyers of HIV medicines and countries to “ensure that everyone who is currently on treatment continues to be on it, saving lives and stopping new HIV infections.”
Planning ahead is especially important as the UNAIDS emphasized that there are currently 24.5 million people on antiretroviral medication worldwide, and a shortage or a spike in prices could result in millions of people being negatively affected.
UNAIDS is also working towards minimizing the potential damage a shortage would cause by pledging $1 billion to help countries respond to COVID-19. However, the organization emphasized that would really stem a looming shortage is policies from countries that will ensure that supply chains are not adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic.
The global coronavirus pandemic is still very much a problem, as evidenced by the July 7 situation report from the World Health Organization. According to the report, there are currently 11,500,302 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. Deaths that have been caused by COVID-19 are now at 535,759 people.