Wednesday, March 31, 2021
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when Covid-19 disrupts HIV testing

UNAIDS, the joint United Nations AIDS program, estimates that by 2022 nearly 300,000 more people could be infected with HIV worldwide. And the Covid-19 pandemic could further worsen these figures, for lack of screening. For its new campaign to call for donations, which begins on Saturday, Sidaction warns of the impact of the health crisis in the fight against the disease. Associations are over-solicited by the precariousness of beneficiaries, research projects are suspended and prevention activities are reduced or even stopped.

650,000 fewer tests between March and September

Another figure is particularly alarming: the number of screenings has fallen by 50% in some countries and by 10% in France. Between March and September 2020, there were 650,000 fewer HIV tests than usual. They haven’t been caught up since.

“Today, when we are detected early and treated immediately, after only a few months, the virus no longer replicates in the body, thanks to the quality of the treatments. We will live a long and healthy life. , we are not going to transmit the virus “, explains Sandrine Fournier, director of the financing and research department of Sidaction. “Taking treatment when you are HIV positive is not transmitting the virus.”

“So you understand to what extent screening really is the cornerstone of prevention in France today,” she adds. In France, 173,000 people are living with HIV.

Easy-to-access screening tests

For those who doubt, the first reflex should therefore be the screening test. It can be carried out in the laboratory or via a self-test, available in pharmacies or by obtaining a certificate. A crucial gesture to prevent the disease from spreading. It is estimated that 24,000 French people are infected with HIV without knowing it.

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