Guyana recorded 500 new HIV related viruses in 2018
World AIDS Day is observed on December 1ST each year, the theme this year is – “Communities make the difference”.
At the launch of this year’s observances at the PAHO/WHO boardroom, Brickdam Georgetown, Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence said there has been an increase in the number of persons diagnosed with HIV and also an increase in new HIV related viruses.
“Our statistics reveal that they are 8200 children, adolescents, youths, women and men living with HIV. In 2018 approximately 500 new infections occurred in Guyana, mainly from key population and young people,” the Minister said.
Of the estimated 8,200 people living with HIV since 2018, 93% know their status making Guyana the only Caribbean country to achieve the first 90 of the UN AIDS 90-90-90 target.
The target includes 90% of persons diagnosed with HIV know their status, 90% of those diagnosed who are on treatment; the final 90% is to ensure that person stay with the course of treatment.
In Guyana 73% persons are on treatment and 81% have achieved viral suppression so that they can no longer transmit the infection to their partners.
Minister Lawrence noted that the country still grapples to reduce new infections and AIDS related deaths.
“The Ministry of Public Health is making a clarion call to persons who are aware of their status and have not access treatment to do so, as this can result in them becoming virally undetectable that they can no longer transmit the infections to their partners,” Minister Lawrence said.
The Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Country Representative, Dr William Adu Krow lauded Guyana for being in the lead among Caribbean countries to treat HIV/AIDS.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shamdeo Persaud called for more community involvement in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“As most of you it has been a long fight against HIV/AIDS and we have made significant gains, but without the support of communities we are unable to move forward at a pace we would like to,” Dr. Persaud said.
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and all the UN agencies and member countries are focusing on the role that communities play in the fight against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) for this year’s observance of World’s AIDS Day.