The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened existing inequalities. High income countries spend billions on the COVID-19 response and vaccines, while low and middle income countries are left behind. These countries lack means to invest in their health systems and struggle to get access to vaccines. This has enormous consequences for people living with HIV in these countries. Research shows that they are more likely to get infected with COVID-19 and more likely to face serious symptoms or death.
However, the COVID-19 response can draw many lessons from the global HIV-response. The enormous progress in HIV-testing and HIV-care over the past decades demonstrate what can be achieved when countries collaborate and when the most affected are heard. The report thus warns not to make the same mistakes as in the early years of the HIV-pandemic (an AIDS-pandemic at the time) by investing in the production of vaccines for all and by making tests and treatment freely accessible to all.
The report calls for increased national and international support to end HIV, the goal to which all countries have committed with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Winnie Byanyima, UNAIDS Executive Director : "These successes prove what is possible when we do not accept the status quo and instead confront the inequalities that are at the root of so much needless suffering."