Govt. to introduce self-testing for HIV – Kaieteur News

Govt. to introduce self-testing for HIV

New strategic plan launched …

Health Minister, Frank Anthony.

Kaieteur News – Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, has announced a plan for self-testing Guyanese for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Dr. Anthony made this disclosure on Tuesday when he launched the new National HIV Strategic Plan (NSP) 2021-2025, which seeks to strengthen the national response to HIV / AIDS.
The Minister stated that the plan is to bridge past achievements with the aim of ending the disease by 2030.
Dr. noted that Anthony that Guyana aims to achieve the UNAID 90-90-90 goal of 90 per cent of people in Guyana knowing their HIV status, 90 per cent of people living with the virus receive treatment (antiretroviral therapy) and 90 percent of those receiving treatment are orally suspended.
Minister Anthony said there were many steps along the way towards eradicating AIDS.
He said “We still have a lot of work to do over the next five years if we are to meet the target and move beyond that to achieve what we aspire to by 2025… These targets look like simple numbers to achieve, but there is a lot of basic work to be done. ”
“Another area we want to look at is self-testing. This is relatively new and has been advocated around the world and some countries have implemented it with relatively good success and this is one of the areas we would like, of course, to implement here in Guyana, ”he said.
Dr. noted that Anthony contributed the various stakeholders who strengthened the plan and made it more comprehensive.
He also acknowledged the challenges and weaknesses over the years, but highlighted the Government’s continuing commitment to addressing them and finding new methodologies to ensure that the 2025 target is achieved.
In that regard, Minister Anthony says for 2021, the goal is to have a comprehensive PREP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) program.
“The objective is to ensure that anyone at risk can access PREP. Increasing self-testing is another area of ​​focus, as well as reducing the burden of other sexually transmitted infections, ”he stressed.
Also, Dr. Anthony that there are plans to submit a bid to the Global Fund for additional capital to combat HIV.
Meanwhile, during his presentation, Ministry of Health Advisor Dereck Springer acknowledged stakeholder commitment to increasing the national response to AIDS. Although achieved, he said, there are still a number of challenges that hinder the response, which must be resolved.
Mr Springer said dysfunctional coordination structures, high levels of stigma and discrimination persist, a weak paper monitoring and evaluation system, frequent stocking of medicines and high reliance on specialist human resources in service delivery.
In addition, Dr. Rhonda Moore, Program Manager at the National AIDS Program Secretariat (NAPS) says the plan will see Guyana laying the foundation over the next five years to achieve the global commitment to ending AIDS by 2030.