Guyana’s Ministry of Public Health is planning to introduce Pre-Exposed Prophylaxis (PrEP) as an HIV transmission countermeasure.
According to Caribbean News Service, this is a course of drugs taken pre-emptively against the spread of the disease, mainly targeted at vulnerable groups.
The target population in Guyana for HIV transmission prevention are sex workers with a 6.1 per cent prevalence, men who have sex with men with a 4.9 per cent HIV prevalence, and transgender people with an 8.4 per cent prevalence, according to a UNAIDS survey conducted in 2016.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention method.
People who do not have HIV take the HIV medicine daily to reduce their risk of getting HIV if they are exposed to the virus.
When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, PrEP works – to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection and studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily.
Another countermeasure will see the government establishing a Public-Private Partnership with doctors within the private sector to whom patients will be referred for treatment.
USAID, UNAIDS and Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Office in Guyana along with the Ministry of Public Health hosted an HIV Clinical Management and Implementation of PrEP through a Public-Private Partnership Workshop which ran from August 12th to the 14th.