Treatment for some 2,400 HIV patients in Guyana challenged by COVID-19

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Guyana’s shores back in March 2020, some 2,400 persons living with HIV have refused to take their regular treatment over fears that if they leave their homes, they will contract the deadly virus.

This is according to the Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, who in his daily COVID update on Tuesday said, “during the pandemic, several of them did not come back for treatment.”

In Guyana, approximately 9,000 people are living with HIV, with 71 new cases recorded last year alone. And Dr. Anthony expressed concern that even though HIV is a common comorbidity of COVID-19, people living with the disease are not getting vaccinated.

“…because with HIV patients, several of these patients, their immune system might be depressed,” hence why vaccination is required to ensure that protect against COVID-19.

Thus far, only some 3, 839 HIV-positive people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and this number, the Health Minister said, can increase if persons take the jab.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system and if not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

The virus causes harm to the immune system and resultantly, interferes with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.

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