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Fear of Covid-19 has led to patients abandoning HIV and cancer treatment

Fear of Covid-19 has led to patients abandoning HIV and cancer treatment

Medical experts are concerned that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to patients abandoning their treatments for HIV and cancer for fear of contracting the virus.

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane also highlighted a few months ago that she was concerned about health programmes in the province, as the country put all its efforts into combatting the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Simelane noted a decline in the number enrolled in the cancer programmes as more patients had abandoned their treatment. 

She said at the opening of the 21st International Conference on Aids and sexually transmitted infections in Africa (ICASA) this week that the pandemic had impacted the HIV programmes in the province. 

“Our new reality is that we are forced into a situation where we must deal with these pandemics side-by side,” said Simelane. 

Dr Norman Mabasa, Chairperson of the Unity Forum of Family Practitioners, says the Covid-19 pandemic has led to people avoiding visiting health establishments for fear of contracting Covid.

Mabasa said the consequence of this is that people are unable to collect their other chronic medication including antiretrovirals (ARVs) for treating HIV.

“It is inevitable that with the emergence of the new mutation variant the same fear will prevail. People would always be hesitant to go to crowded healthcare establishments.  

“Many patients default unwittingly and thus interrupt treatment which may lead to known complications including deterioration and potential drug resistance leading to change in drug treatment,” said Mabasa. 

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Covid-19 HIV Nomagugu Norman Mabasa Unity Forum of Family Practitioners


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