30,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Guyana
--Dr Anthony
Guyana Chronicle
August 12, 2002

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A SENIOR Government Health Officer has expressed alarm over the increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases in Guyana.
Project Coordinator of the Health Sector Reform Programme (HSRP) Dr Frank Anthony disclosed that about 30,000 people are living with the HIV/AIDS in Guyana. He also said that a significant percentage of this number is not captured in the national data.

According to the Project Coordinator, in the year 2001, 4,000 persons were tested positive with HIV/AIDS in Region Four (Demerara/Mahaica) while 375 persons were recorded in Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne).

Tests at anti-natal clinics also revealed that seven per cent of patients are infected with the virus.

A Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) survey in 1994 reported that 24 per cent of females employed at nightspots are carriers of the deadly disease. In 2000, a similar exercise was conducted, and it reflected a 50 per cent increase, the official said.

Dr Anthony made these disclosures on Sunday, August 4, 2002 during an address to members of the East Berbice Life Savers Club (EBLSC). He urged the group to intensify its HIV/AIDS awareness programme, suggesting that such an initiative would contain the proliferation of the virus.

The HSRP Coordinator lauded the club members for providing counselling to victims of all forms of abuse and for those involved in other anti-social activities. He assured them that the Health Ministry would continue to support the club’s programme.

Attorney-at-law, Mr. Adrian Anamayah dealt with sections of the law relating to child abuse and domestic violence. He explained the procedures that victims should follow especially when reporting cases of abuse to the Police.

The lawyer outlined the main aspects of the Domestic Violence Act and noted that child abuse and domestic violence are prevalent crimes in society.

In the ensuring ‘rap session’, club members pledged their support to the Government’s human development programme. They also recognised the urgent need for a drug rehabilitation centre in Region Six to seriously treat the many victims of drug abuse.

Regional Health Officer (RHO) Dr Kalika Persaud also attended the function, which was held at the Number 68 Baptist Church Skills Training Centre. (Arjune Poonai)