Treatment for the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) is available at 22 sites in the country and concerted efforts over the years has seen a decline in the number of cases.
This is according to Minister in the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings in a GINA release.
Speaking at Tuesday’s launch of the UNAIDS 2016-2021 strategy at the Grand Coastal Inn, Cummings disclosed that for 2014 of the 5,041 persons (55.8% female and 44.2% male) registered for care and treatment, 4,295 received antiretroviral care. Indicative of the longer life expectancy in these persons is the 80% survival rate within the first 12 months; with 24, 36 and 60-month periods showing rates of 75%, 72.2% and 63% respectively.
It was also stated that Guyana will soon be recognised for its elimination of the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV since the number of reported cases of HIV in children under one year of age has remained below five since 2008. HIV can cause Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
According to GINA, Cummings said “over a decade ago HIV was viewed as a death sentence; it was shattering families in Guyana, communities and development…but through partnerships and measures that have been put in place to ensure people have access to life saving medicines, the AIDS response has been like no other, it has put focus on the people and has put great light on the disease.”
She thanked UNAIDS for its work in the country noting that “an ambitious social strategy is required to take us forward, focus resources, political support and accelerate progress.”
Guyana will utilise the UNAIDS strategy in its aim to achieve the UN’s 90-90-90 target which seeks to maximise the HIV/AIDS response to achieve 90% of persons living with HIV/AIDS being apprised of their status, 90% of persons tested positive accessing Anti-Retroviral treatment and 90% of those treated having undetectable viral load levels in their blood.
The strategy emphasises the closing of testing gaps and increased focus and financing for HIV prevention.