Guyana introduces HIV transmission countermeasures

Friday, August 16, 2019

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) — The Ministry of Public Health is planning to introduce pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as an HIV transmission countermeasure.

This is a course of drugs taken pre-emptively against the spread of the disease, mainly targeted at vulnerable groups.

The target population in Guyana for HIV transmission prevention are sex workers with a 6.1 per cent prevalence, men who have sex with men with a 4.9 per cent HIV prevalence, and transgender people with an 8.4 per cent prevalence, according to a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) survey conducted in 2016.

PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention method.

People who do not have HIV take the HIV medicine daily to reduce their risk of getting HIV if they are exposed to the virus.

Another countermeasure will see the Government establishing a public-private partnership with doctors within the private sector to whom patients will be referred for treatment.

United States Agency Agency for International Development (USAID), UNAIDS and Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Office in Guyana along with the Ministry of Public Health hosted an HIV clinical management and implementation of PrEP, through a public-private partnership workshop.

The three-day workshop ran from August 12 to 14.

Minister of Public Health Volda Lawrence, who handed over certificates to participants of the workshop, noted that PrEP is a new venture of the ministry and is expected to be an effective measure in HIV prevention.


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