Climate Change, Conflict Stymie Efforts to Eradicate Infectious Diseases

Sep 19, 2023

The Global Fund has declared its goal to rid the planet of HIV/AIDStuberculosis (TB), and malaria by 2030 impossible without taking “extraordinary steps."

The Global Fund issued its 2023 Results Report on Monday. In it, the group cited a number of related factors as the reasons. The report points to climate change, conflict, debt, and growing inequality that make fighting the diseases more difficult. Our warming world also helps the spread of disease. It forces regions to contend with illnesses they may not be equipped to manage, the report says.

“Climate change is already having an impact,” Peter Sands wrote. He is The Global Fund's executive director. Sands pointed to malaria as an example. It has spread to regions that used to be too cold for the type of mosquito that carries it.  

Armed conflicts have also thwarted relief efforts. They can make getting good data about a disease’s impact more difficult. Major floods, hurricanes, wildfires, or violence can allow sickness to spread more quickly, as well. Those events can damage key safeguards for a region like sources of clean drinking water. 

The Global Fund did see some progress in 2022. Of patients with HIV/AIDS, 86% were aware of their infection status. This often makes them more careful to guard against its spread. In 2015, that figure was 68%. And the share of people with TB who had access to life-saving drugs increased. That figure rose from 45% in 2010 to 89% in 2021.

Photo from Unsplash courtesy of Andrey Metelev.

Reflect: Do you think keeping the environment healthy can help people with health problems or even eliminate them? Explain.

According to the details in the story, what happened to the awareness of HIV/AIDS infection status among patients? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. It remained stable at 68% since 2015.
b. It decreased significantly over the years.
c. It increased to 86% from 68% in seven years.
d. The story does not provide information about this.
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