As health services around the world continue to focus resources on ending the coronavirus pandemic, they threaten to derail decades of hard-won progress tackling diseases like HIV and tuberculosis, according to a new report by the International AIDS Society.
The society plans to raise its concerns during the 23rd International AIDS conference, which began Monday, reports the CNN.
"The social distancing efforts and lockdowns to control the spread of it [coronavirus], have disrupted HIV prevention and treatment programs and put vital HIV research on hold," said Dr Anton Pozniak, president of the International AIDS Society.
A survey released in June by the NGO Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria found that across 106 of the countries it works in, 85 percent had reported disruptions to their HIV services, 78 percent to tuberculosis services, and 73 percent to malaria services.
Nearly 20 percent reported severe disruptions for all three diseases.
Models by the World Health Organization, Stop TB partnership and Imperial College London have predicted that such disruptions could lead to more than 1 million extra deaths across these three diseases.
For example, recent models commissioned by the World Health Organization and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that a six-month disruption to services in sub-Saharan Africa alone could lead to an extra 500,000 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in 2021.
This is on top of a likely 470,000 deaths that would have occurred, based on 2018 numbers.