Guyana joined the rest of the world today in observing Worlds AIDS Day and it was revealed by the Minister of Health that the country is among the countries in the Caribbean that have made significant strides in achieving the first 90 of the UNAIDS “90-90-90” goal.
The 90-90-90 goal seeks to have 90% of all people living with HIV knowing their status, 90% of persons diagnosed with HIV receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of those receiving the antiretroviral therapy having a viral suppression.
According to the Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, towards the end of 2019, Guyana had recorded 8,700 persons living with HIV and 73% of those persons were on antiretroviral therapy with 75% experiencing viral supression.
According to the World Health Organisation, the standard antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of at least three antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.
Dr. Anthony said Guyana will continue to see improvements in its fight against HIV in the year to come.
“With strategic implementation over the next year, the Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (or PrEP) programme is expected to take pre-emptive action against the spread of the disease and will be available for those who are at risk of HIV infection”, the Minister indicated.
In his World AIDS Day message, Minister Anthony said “HIV/AIDS remains high on our agenda, and this year’s observance of World AIDs Day will see the launch of Guyana’s revised and finalised National Strategic Plan (NSP) for 2021-2025, which sets out our priorities for HIV prevention”.
It was noted that as the country continues its fight against HIV/AIDS, everyone has a role to play and all will be encouraged to become more involved.
The Health Ministry has indicated that it intends to work to strengthen its relations with local Non-Governmental groups and religious organisations to partner with each other in the efforts to improve the country’s HIV/AIDS programme.
As part of the World AIDS Day observances locally, a virtual discussion was hosted on the overarching HIV programme in the country.