The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact across the globe, with millions of lives and livelihoods lost, unlike anything we have experienced in decades. The last time the entire world was this focused on a pandemic threat was over two decades ago, when HIV/AIDS was killing almost 4,000 people every day and new infections doubled year after year.

Since then, the global response to AIDS has largely become a global success story, but the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to set back this progress. On World AIDS Day on Wednesday, it’s important to remember that HIV/AIDS is still a crisis.

In 2020, there were 1.5 million new infections and 680,000 AIDS-related deaths. Even worse, people living with HIV/AIDS are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and are living in parts of the world with limited access to COVID-19 vaccines. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to almost 70 percent of the people worldwide living with HIV, but only 10 percent of the region’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We have the power to beat both of these viruses. That’s why it’s so important that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King show support for programs that are helping the fight against COVID and AIDS, like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of the most effective and efficient health organizations on the planet.

Michelle Amato
Portland

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