For Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, president of Sidaction, the general public must be re-mobilized vis-à-vis AIDS.


Vincent Isoré

The health crisis linked to the coronavirus has had an "unfortunately significant" impact on the fight against HIV, for example due to "a drop" in screening, warned the Nobel Prize winner for medicine Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, president of the Sidaction association, this Sunday in an interview with the



“The impact has unfortunately been significant.

Over the past year, screenings have fallen by up to 50% in some countries, and the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has fallen sharply, in connection with the Covid epidemic, ”said the virologist .

Ten years of lost struggle

Projections by UNAIDS - the United Nations program on HIV - "raise fear of maddening figures: up to 300,000 more cases of infection and up to 150,000 additional deaths by 2022" worldwide, added the Nobel laureate (in 2008, for having co-discovered the human immunodeficiency virus).

"Some believe that we could lose ten years of efforts in the fight against AIDS," warned the doctor.

She also regretted that the lessons learned during the HIV epidemic were "not sufficiently taken into account".

"Faced with a viral epidemic, we must create an environment conducive to changes in behavior", or "we have not worked enough with associations, which have the capacity to pass information to the general public so that they are accepted, ”she said.

The RNA vaccine, a hope?

"In other words, there were huge communication flaws and contradictions, including between caregivers," added the virologist.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi hopes that the Covid epidemic "will allow us to learn things about HIV".

“Until now, we had never tried an RNA vaccine against HIV.

Moderna, among others, is developing one: I don't know if it's going to work, but we are learning from each other, ”she says.

Sidaction, an annual operation aimed at raising public awareness and raising funds to finance research and treat patients, is taking place this year from March 26 to 8.


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