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J Int AIDS Soc ; 25(7): e25967, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1958775


INTRODUCTION: Globally, over half of the estimated new HIV infections now occur among key populations, including men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who inject drugs, transgender individuals, and people in prisons and other closed settings, and their sexual partners. Reaching epidemic control will, for many countries, increasingly require intensified programming and targeted resource allocation to meet the needs of key populations and their sexual partners. However, insufficient funding, both in terms of overall amounts and the way the funding is spent, contributes to the systematic marginalization of key populations from needed HIV services. DISCUSSION: The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has recently highlighted the urgent need to take action to end inequalities, including those faced by key populations, which have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To address these inequalities and improve health outcomes, key population programs must expand the use of a trusted access platform, scale up differentiated service delivery models tailored to the needs of key populations, rollout structural interventions and ensure service integration. These critical program elements are often considered "extras," not necessities, and consequently costing studies of key population programs systematically underestimate the total and unitary costs of services for key populations. Findings from a recent costing study from the LINKAGES project suggest that adequate funding for these four program elements can yield benefits in program performance. Despite this and other evidence, the lack of data on the true costs of these elements and the costs of failing to provide them prevents sufficient investment in these critical elements. CONCLUSIONS: As nations strive to reach the 2030 UNAIDS goals, donors, governments and implementers should reconsider the true, but often hidden costs in future healthcare dollars and in lives if they fail to invest in the community-based and community-driven key population programs that address structural inequities. Supporting these efforts contributes to closing the remaining gaps in the 95-95-95 goals. The financial and opportunity cost of perpetuating inequities and missing those who must be reached in the last mile of HIV epidemic control must be considered.

COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Sexual and Gender Minorities , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control
IJID Reg ; 3: 114-116, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739807


The 2025 UNAIDS targets prioritize reaching all subpopulations living with HIV and those at risk for HIV as the only pathway to achieving control of the HIV epidemic. This has brought to the fore the importance of addressing the needs of key marginalized groups and placing such communities at the center of HIV response strategies. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a setback in terms of confronting HIV. With this in mind, it is important not only to protect services within HIV responses among key populations, but also to expand such services to meet the UNAIDS 2025 targets. Without this, gains in controlling COVID-19 may be achieved at the expense of losses in controlling the spread of HIV, which had been achieved after sustained and resource-intensive actions.

J Int AIDS Soc ; 24(4): e25697, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1168893


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting HIV care globally, with gaps in HIV treatment expected to increase HIV transmission and HIV-related mortality. We estimated how COVID-19-related disruptions could impact HIV transmission and mortality among men who have sex with men (MSM) in four cities in China, over a one- and five-year time horizon. METHODS: Regional data from China indicated that the number of MSM undergoing facility-based HIV testing reduced by 59% during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside reductions in ART initiation (34%), numbers of all sexual partners (62%) and consistency of condom use (25%), but initial data indicated no change in viral suppression. A mathematical model of HIV transmission/treatment among MSM was used to estimate the impact of disruptions on HIV infections/HIV-related deaths. Disruption scenarios were assessed for their individual and combined impact over one and five years for 3/4/6-month disruption periods, starting from 1 January 2020. RESULTS: Our model predicted new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths would be increased most by disruptions to viral suppression, with 25% reductions (25% virally suppressed MSM stop taking ART) for a three-month period increasing HIV infections by 5% to 14% over one year and deaths by 7% to 12%. Observed reductions in condom use increased HIV infections by 5% to 14% but had minimal impact (<1%) on deaths. Smaller impacts on infections and deaths (<3%) were seen for disruptions to facility HIV testing and ART initiation, but reduced partner numbers resulted in 11% to 23% fewer infections and 0.4% to 1.0% fewer deaths. Longer disruption periods (4/6 months) amplified the impact of disruption scenarios. When realistic disruptions were modelled simultaneously, an overall decrease in new HIV infections occurred over one year (3% to 17%), but not for five years (1% increase to 4% decrease), whereas deaths mostly increased over one year (1% to 2%) and five years (1.2 increase to 0.3 decrease). CONCLUSIONS: The overall impact of COVID-19 on new HIV infections and HIV-related deaths is dependent on the nature, scale and length of the various disruptions. Resources should be directed to ensuring levels of viral suppression and condom use are maintained to mitigate any adverse effects of COVID-19-related disruption on HIV transmission and control among MSM in China.

COVID-19/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , SARS-CoV-2 , China/epidemiology , HIV Infections/transmission , Humans , Male , Safe Sex
J Int AIDS Soc ; 23(8): e25606, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-829993