Guyana achieves target in diagnosing HIV affected persons

first_imgUsing a new initiative, the Public Health Ministry last year managed to achieve a global objective of diagnosing 90 per cent of the population living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).This was revealed on Friday by the Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, who was at the time speaking at the ‘close out’ ceremony of the Advancing Partnerships and Communities (APC) Project which was launched back in 2014.According to Lawrence, “With the generation of community-level data, targeted testing was conducted using mobile outreaches and collaborating with Private Sector organisations, some 29 of them and faith-based organisations, also another 29. This new strategy of index texting in Guyana improved the overall testing yield, shifting the first 90 from 86 per cent at the end of 2017 to 93 per cent [in 2018]”.She explained that the initiative also resulted in an increased number of persons being treated as well, which means that the country is moving towards achieving another 90-90-90 goal. This goal aims at diagnosing 90 per cent of all HIV positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieving viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.Meanwhile, Chief of Party for the Project, Lisa Thompson explained the objective behind the five-year programme.Initially, the project was introduced in eight of Guyana’s 10 administrative regions.Thompson pointed out that the programme was aimed at improving the service delivery and unit costs while strengthening the relationship between Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and the subject Ministry among several others.The strategies were specifically tailored to meet the needs of the population and to ensure the activities were implemented where people were living, working and even playing, which means taking services to the populace rather than having them visit offices for checkups and tests.She was keen to note that more than 30,000 HIV tests were conducted during this period, 424 of the results showed positive.In addition, over 70 training sessions were conducted geared towards educating health personnel and others on effective communication with HIV positive persons. She said they were also schooled on how to teach patients to take care of themselves, health-wise and physically, while listing a few achievements of the APC project.New app for HIV educationAt the same event, Minister Lawrence announced that the Telecommunications Ministry is working alongside the Public Health Ministry to develop a web application which will better inform persons on HIV.According to the Minister, “The APC in collaboration with the Ministry and the Ministry of [Public] Telecommunications began working on an app that would provide information to the general public on HIV and common STIs [Sexually Transmitted Diseases] and where persons can access services should they require the same”.HIV in GuyanaIn August last year, it was revealed that Guyana recorded an increase in the number of HIV cases, with some 961 cases being confirmed.Statistics showed that over the past three years, HIV cases have been increasing rapidly. Some 705 were recorded in 2015 and 855 in 2016.Region Four has since earned the title of the region that is most populated with HIV affected persons due to the fact that it is evidently the most populated region in the country.Trailing Region Four was Region Three, Essequibo Islands-West Demerara, with 130 cases of HIV in 2017.So far, no figures have been released in relation to confirmed HIV cases for 2018.APC Projectlast_img read more