Nearly 250,000 HIV patients without antiretroviral treatment in Angola amid COVID-19

About 250,000 HIV patients in Angola do not have access to antiretroviral treatment, the president of the Angolan Network of AIDS Service Organizations Antonio Coelho said on Wednesday.

Coelho was speaking at the launch of a program concerning World AIDS Day, which will be marked on Dec. 1 this year.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded the immediate attention of national health authorities, causing a certain “inattention” in relation to the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country, said Coelho.

According to the official, there are around 340,000 people infected with HIV in Angola, of which only 93,000 are undergoing antiretroviral treatment.

He said that despite the efforts of the government and civil society groups, the number of HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are increasing in the southern African country.

Data from the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS indicates that by April 2020 there were 26,000 new HIV infections and 13,000 AIDS-related deaths in the country.

Coelho said that the country has registered a rupture in the “stock” of first and second line of antiretroviral treatment since March 2020. In addition to the shortage of medicines, COVID-19 has also increased social difficulties for HIV patients.