COVID-19 took toll on AIDS fight, UNAIDS chief says

Byanyima, who is also United Nations under-secretary-general, said that during the first pandemic phase in particular, fewer people opted to be tested and some dropped out of treatment because of long lines at clinics or other public safety measures that impeded access to prevention measures.

"We do expect that in the coming years, we might see more deaths, we might see more new infections as a result of these disruptions," she said in the pre-recorded interview that aired on World AIDS Day.

Byanyima said vaccine nationalism, in which rich countries buy up vaccine supplies and poor nations are left waiting, has been "among the saddest part of where we are."

As rich countries have hoarded vaccines, just over 7% of Africa's population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

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