The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the fight against HIV, TB and malaria in 2020, according to a report released by the Global Fund.
The report shows that while some progress was made, key programmatic results have declined for the first time in the history of the Global Fund.
In 2020, the number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in the countries where the Global Fund invests dropped by 19%, with those on treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB registering a drop of 37%. The number of HIV-positive TB patients on antiretroviral treatment as well as TB treatment dropped by 16%.
The report also highlights significant declines in HIV testing and prevention services for key and vulnerable populations who were already disproportionately affected. Compared with 2019, people reached with HIV prevention programs and services declined by 11% while young people reached with prevention services declined by 12%. Mothers receiving medicine to prevent transmitting HIV to their babies dropped by 4.5%. HIV testing dropped by 22%, holding back HIV treatment initiation in most countries.
Interventions to combat malaria appear to have been less badly affected by COVID-19 than the other two diseases. The number of mosquito nets distributed increased by 17%, structures covered by indoor residual spraying increased by 3%. In 2020, 11.5 million pregnant women received preventive therapy. However, suspected cases of malaria tested fell by 4.3% and progress against the disease stalled.