57 percent of HIV patients fully vaccinated – Minister Anthony

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony is encouraging people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) across the country, to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Get tested for HIV

Speaking during Tuesday’s COVID-19 update, the minister said during the pandemic over 2, 000 people infected with HIV were loss-to-follow-up patients.

“We estimate that we have 9, 081 persons who are positive for HIV and of those, during the pandemic, several of them did not come back for treatment so we have approximately 2, 400 of them that has been loss-to-follow-up,” Dr. Anthony said.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, M.P

Minister Anthony said of the 6, 681 persons who are currently being treated in public healthcare facilities across the country, 3, 839 persons are fully vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus.

“Of those persons we have at least 5, 224 of them would have received a first dose vaccine which would be approximately 78.1 percent of that population and in terms of second dose, we’ve had 3, 839 people that’s about 57.4 percent,” he said.

The minister added that it is important for these persons to also get boosted “because with HIV patients, several of these patients their immune system might be depressed” as such he is encouraging them to ensure they receive their booster jab.

It is safe for HIV patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Dr. Anthony said while the country has done relatively well in immunising its HIV patients, there is still a lot more that can be done, to take the vaccination rate higher.

Meanwhile, he said children under 12 years living with HIV, their parents must ensure these children are treated with anti-retroviral medication and follow the COVID-19 guidelines to keep them safe.

“Parents should make sure that the child is on their anti-retroviral medication and that they are able to suppress the HIV virus, if they’re doing that the chances of the HIV virus compromising their immune system is relatively low…

Apart from that they have to follow all the public health measures that we have put in place,” Minister Anthony said. Dr. Anthony continues to urge persons to wear their masks, sanitise, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infections in Guyana.

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.