Survey shows 45 per cent of sex workers are HIV-positive
Vulnerable young women must understand that love and sex are not the same
--Health Minister

Guyana Chronicle
June 5, 2003

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INFORMATION coming out of the Ministry of Health has indicated that 45 per cent of Guyana’s commercial sex workers are HIV-positive, and that overall, some 5 to 7 per cent of the persons, who are sexually active, are infected with the virus.

Noting this would mean that one in every 20 sexually active persons is infected with HIV, Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy is now leading a campaign calling on all sexually active persons to engage in responsible sexual behaviour.

To this end, he is sending a clear message to young people, particularly those young women who are inclined to be very vulnerable, that love and sex are not the same.

Said Ramsammy: “We need to teach young ladies that love and sex are not the same. One could love and not have sex.”

A GINA release has quoted the Minister as saying that there is need for more work to be done locally in terms of conducting surveys in relation to the prevalence of the virus.

Commenting on the appalling statistics for sex workers, Ramsammy said: “This is another piece of evidence that suggests that the general population has a very high HIV prevalence rate, consistent with the 5 to 7 per cent (statistic).”

To date, Guyana continues to be one of the countries most seriously affected by the virus, rating immediately after Haiti, which is known to be the most AIDS-affected territory in the Caribbean region.

GINA said that through a programme with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), improvements are expected to be seen in Guyana’s health information system, and this would provide better statistical indicators.

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