World AIDS Day 2023: Message from Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony
Today, I join the global HIV community to observe World AIDS Day 2023, under the theme “Let Communities Lead” and pay tribute to those persons who have lost their lives to HIV. I celebrate the advancements in science, technology and public health that are resulting in the reduction of HIV infections and the delivery of evidence-based treatment and care services to achieve our shared goal of an AIDS-free world.
Guyana has made strides in the achievement of the 95-95-95 global targets and there is much to be celebrated. We have reached and tested more than 90% of the community of people living with HIV, introduced newer and highly effective prevention modalities such as HIV self-testing (HIVST) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), placed an increasing number of PLHIV on highly effective antiretroviral therapy.
This progress is possible due to the collective efforts of our healthcare workers, key populations and civil society communities, people living with HIV, and technical and development partners. I take this opportunity to thank you all for your collaboration, support and service to the HIV response.
As we celebrate our progress, we must work to ensure that effective programmes are scaled up for universal coverage and access, leaving no one behind. Consequently, we will integrate HIV services into primary health care. This will ensure HIV prevention and treatment services are delivered to people where they are. We will scale up prevention initiatives so that HIV self-testing will become routinely accessible to anyone who needs to their status.
We will move from a pilot to full-scale implementation of PrEP services for persons who are at risk for HIV. We will continue in our efforts to ensure that no baby in our country is born HIV positive. In the coming year, we will submit our request to the World Health Organisation for the validation of the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and congenital syphilis in Guyana. On the treatment front, I commit to the community of PLHIV that you will continue to receive the best treatment and care that is based on scientific evidence and international standards.
As we move forward, we will continue to strengthen the healthcare systems and engage with our technical and development partners and all other stakeholders for a comprehensive, multisectoral and multidisciplinary response. We will continue to continue to engage with, empower and let communities lead to ensure that services are delivered to those most in need and that no one is left behind.
I thank everyone and recommit with you to achieving an AIDS-free Guyana!