At a domestic and global level, the common theme for World AIDS Day 2020 is global solidarity, collaboration, and an appeal for joint responsibility where individuals, communities, elected authorities and service providers all play their part to end HIV. Ending AIDS requires that communities are engaged in identifying and helping to address their specific needs, including those of their most marginalised and vulnerable members, and also that authorities be accountable for the quality and delivery of the services required to address those needs.
The breakdown in essential HIV services due to COVID-19 posed a challenge for people to test, start, and sustain antiretroviral treatment. In addition, people found it difficult to collect their medicines and fewer people accessed other support services, such as voluntary male medical circumcision, psychosocial support, and sexual reproductive services. COVID-19 highlighted how an epidemic puts enormous pressure on fragile healthcare systems, thereby calling for a need to strengthen, empower and build resilience in these systems, essential if we are to survive future disruptions.
CHIVA South Africa is proud to heed this call and is committed to the capacitation of healthcare workers delivering HIV prevention, treatment, and care services, resulting in improved child and adolescent health outcomes.
We believe that the promotion of PrEP, with a focus on vulnerable groups at highest risk, along with expanded treatment and prevention programmes focused on children and adolescents, an end to stigma/discrimination and empowering young people to prevent infection are all achievable if we all play our part.