“Know your partner’s status” – Public Health Min.
– Strong advocacy made for greater mobilisation of communities when tackling HIV Epidemic
– World Aids Day Observed 2019
DPI, Guyana, Sunday, December 1, 2019.
Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence today reinforced the importance of persons being tested for HIV and knowing the status of their partner while appealing for more support for persons living with the virus.
Addressing participants after a march to observe World Aid Day, the Minister noted that too many persons are living with HIV and are pushed aside rather than given the support they need.
“I want to say that stigma and discrimination do not add to us when we ill about persons without the facts, it does not add to our stature, rather it takes away from us and how people will trust us,” the Minister cautioned.
She added that there is still discrimination prevalent in society which must come to an end because persons living with HIV, have the right to live free from discrimination.
“To our nurses and doctors, I don’t have to remind you of that solemn oath that you have taken, which speaks to everyone else outside the medical profession who you should be interacting with about that patient, the information of a patient should always be confidential. Every health professional must be trusted as we work to provide the best health service,” Minister Lawrence said.
World Aids Day 2019 is being held under the theme “Ending HIV epidemic community by community.”
The staff of the Ministry of Health, representatives of the PAHO/WHO country office and several other organisations participated in the event which commenced with a walk from the Square of the Revolution and proceeded through the streets of Georgetown.
An interfaith ceremony was later held in recognition and significance of the day.
Relaying a message from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Guyana, Mikiko Tanaka stated that communities around the world are helping people help people to claim their rights and promoting access to stigma-free health and social services while ensuring these services reach the most vulnerable and pushing to change laws that discriminate.
Tanaka also pointed to the fact the “… needs remain, a reported 38 million people are living with HIV and resources for the response to the epidemic declined by $1 US billion last year. More than ever, we need to harness the role of community-led organisations that advocate for their peers, deliver services, defend human rights and provide support. When communities are engaged, we see change happen, we see investment lead to results, equality, respect and dignity. With communities, we can end AIDS.”
Last year, the number of people living with HIV in Guyana was 8,369. Of these 5,557, inclusive of children were on treatment.
The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is set out to address gaps in prevention while accelerating treatment, availability of financial resources, global solidarity, and shared responsibility for AIDS, in addition to local efforts with global outreach.