Guyana making good progress to end AIDS by 2030, but off-track on some targets
Guyana is making good progress in sticking to global commitments to end AIDS by 2030, but it is off track in meeting some targets, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, indicated on Wednesday ahead of chairing a United Nations high-level panel.
In a 2016 declaration to end AIDS, countries of the United Nations committed themselves to the 90–90–90 targets with the intention to ensure the vast majority of people are tested for HIV and ensure those who are living with HIV are treated to the extent that they can no longer pass on the disease by 2020.
According to Dr Anthony, Guyana surpassed the first target, namely – Increase the proportion of people with HIV who know their diagnosis to 90%. That figure for Guyana stands at 95%.
On the second target of ‘Increase the proportion of people receiving antiretroviral treatment to 90%’, Guyana’s percentage is at 71%.
On the third target, of increasing the proportion of people under treatment who have an undetectable viral load, Guyana’s percentage is 69%.
“We have some more work to make sure we meet this target,” Dr Anthony stated.
He said that going forward, the aim is to involve people more in the decision-making process towards the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.
In a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday, President Irfaan Ali acknowledged that while Guyana’s figures are impressive and among the best in the Caribbean, Guyana missed the 90-90-90 targets.
In the 2021-2025 period, he said Guyana is committed to reaching the new UNAIDS global 95-95-95 goal.
Among the measures he outlined is making discrimination against people with HIV “unacceptable, illegal, and punitive, throughout society, including Government, the private sector and civil society.”
He said that in the coming years, Guyana will strive to reach “vulnerable groups such as LGBTI (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex), sex workers and immigrants.”
The President said Guyana will focus on integrating mental health in all HIV policies and programmes and transforming the current paper-based HIV monitoring system into an IT-based system.
“The Government of Guyana is fully committed to providing universal access to prevention, care and treatment for everyone living with HIV or living under the threat of HIV infections,” the President stated.