Self-testing instrumental in Guyana’s success in HIV/AIDS fight

Self-testing instrumental in Guyana’s success in HIV/AIDS fight

As Guyana joined the rest of the world today in observing World AIDS Day, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony said Guyana has made significant strides in the achievement of the 95-95-95 global targets set out by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS with more than 90% of the persons living with HIV already tested.

The Health Minister said Guyana introduced newer and highly effective prevention modalities such as HIV self-testing (HIVST) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) over the past few years.

National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) Programme Manager, Dr. Tariq Jagnarine, during a televised programme on World AIDS Day, said HIV self-testing is among the country’s successes as it works towards eliminating HIV as a public health issue by 2030.

“One of our greatest successes is our self-testing. I really like that with the launch of that self-testing, being able to reach persons, especially persons, who are reluctant to come out to get tested, hidden and closeted individuals, being able to target key populations, being able to work with some of the communities and provide services to them. And not only that, we have been able to provide lots of new policy changes, policy updates like our HIV workplace policy, new condom strategy. We have been making lots of successes, and with that, the programme has been making great strides and leading the way towards eliminating HIV as a public health issue by 2030,” Dr Jagnarine said.

According to the Health Ministry, the progress recorded is as a result of the collective efforts of healthcare workers, key populations and civil society communities including people living with HIV, and technical and development partners.

It said the country will continue to work to ensure that effective programmes are scaled up for universal coverage and access, leaving no one behind. It said the country will move towards the integration of HIV services into primary health care, even as it continues to place emphasis on prevention and treatment.

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