People living with HIV urged to maintain treatment schedule

−missing treatment could complicate Covid infection

People living with HIV (PLWH) are being urged to maintain their treatment schedule and to attend regular clinics despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call comes from Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony, who said due to the current pandemic patients have been staying away.    

“Patients who would have achieved viral suppression, patients who would have been receiving their medication, because of COVID-19 and so, they’re not coming to clinics and so forth and their management can be compromised,” Minister Anthony stated. 

Dr. Anthonytold DPI on Tuesday he understood the challenge; however, he reiterated the need for appointments to be kept. 

“What we have in effect is a collision of two pandemics, which is HIV and COVID-19, and if not carefully managed a lot of our patients who are positive for HIV can have more difficulties with COVID-19. So, it’s something that we have to monitor while we navigate out of the COVID pandemic.” 

Addressing the progress made towards the United Nations aim to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2030, Minister Anthony said Guyana has been able to achieve the first targeted 90 of the 90-90-90 plan, which is 90 per cent of all PLWH to know their status by 2020.

The next two, which have been delayed because of COVID-19, are 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection to receive sustained antiretroviral therapy by 2020 and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral treatment to have viral suppression by 2020.

Minister Anthony said Guyana is committed to the UN plan and will be releasing its strategy for the next five years, which will look at what needs to be done during that period for people living with HIV. 

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