World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that overlapping crises of COVID-19, inflation and cuts to foreign aid by wealthy countries are accelerating health inequality and disrupting health services.
Giving a keynote speech by video to the "health equity for all" of the 24th International AIDS Conference, known as AIDS 2022, Tedros said the growing inequality could reverse a decade of progress made in the fight against HIV.
In almost every country, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider and the global cost of living crisis is driving more people into poverty, Tedros said.
"Access to life-saving prevention tools, testing and treatment, whether for HIV, COVID-19 and now monkeypox, too often relies on chance: where you were born, the colour of your skin and how much you earn," Tedros said.
He called on donor nations to maintain funding for global health.
Global HIV community leaders warned that the world is losing ground against HIV. According to a report of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), about 1.5 million new HIV infections occurred in 2021, over one million more than the global targets.
The UNAIDS report also showed that the number of people on HIV treatment increased more slowly in 2021 than it has in over a decade.
More than 9,500 in-person and nearly 2,000 virtual participants were registered to attend the fully hybrid AIDS 2022 which takes place from July 29 to Aug. 2 in the Canadian city of Montreal with the theme of "re-engage and follow the science".