The government through the Ministry of Health is working assiduously to end the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) by 2030.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony highlighted a series of Guyana’s achievements, as it relates to tackling HIV, since recording its first case in 1987.
“Compare 35 years ago to where we are today, we have really made a transformation in how we have been managing this disease. We have had a lot of dedication; a lot of work being done and because of that we have seen this transformation. When you look at what we have accomplished, while locally we have people making those sacrifices, we also had a lot of good partnerships.”
“And so, with this kind of technical assistance, with this kind of input in terms of the things that we needed. We were able to advance our HIV treatment and care programme and if I dare say, one of the best in the Caribbean,” the Minister said at Guyana’s first HIV/STI Conference held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) on Sunday.
From the many achievements, Guyana is confident that ending HIV/AIDS by 2030 is highly achievable.
“And so, today we are at a place if we work a little bit harder towards this objective that we have in the world of ending AIDS by 2030, we can actually do so. It is just not an aspiration but I think its within our grasp,” said the Minister.
Further, he noted that based on the 95-95-95 targets set by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, in Guyana, 94 per cent of HIV-positive persons know their status, 76 per cent of those diagnosed are receiving antiretroviral treatment and 28 per cent of those diagnosed have achieved viral supression.
The Minister highlighted that government has already procured a vital load testing machine which is expected to be in the country early next year. When installed, the machine will become available to every HIV-positive patient.
“So, I am sure that once we start using viral loads that 28 per cent that we now have would go up significantly. I think the estimate is that we probably have 89 or so per cent of the people, who are receiving treatment virally suppressed but we can’t demonstrate that. With this machine and testing we will be able to demonstrate that and I am sure we can work towards making sure that we get to that target by 2025,” Minister Anthony stated.
Meanwhile, the Minister reiterated government’s commitment to spreading awareness on health-related issues and so, the conference will be hosted annually.