Baseline study to examine prevalence of STIs
Stabroek News
July 12, 2004

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Better work needs to be done on improving the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Guyana.

Dr John Farley of the Canadian Society for Inter-national Health (CISH) said this in his address on Friday at the Emba-Sea Courtyard outlining the objectives of a study launched to carry out a baseline study on STIs.

The study of STIs as well as HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) is set to start in September with various samples being taken in Regions Four, Six and Ten. It is scheduled to run for a year and is being funded at as cost of approximately Cdn$5.6M.

Farley said, "Data shows that AIDS is associated with certain diseases...just as we have one infection we can have another STI. It was noted in recent years that curable STI cases were resurfacing.

This suggests, "that somewhere, somehow the authorities are not doing something correctly." He explained that STIs usually require two or three conditions to allow them to thrive, these being multiple partners, a lack of information and not being able to reach the patient.

Farley said, "We must get to these points or we will not get to the root of the problem. Money and resources would not help because of a lack of information." Farley added that drugs developed ten years ago might not be effective today, hence the importance of these studies coming up with home-grown guidelines.

Emily Cumberbatch Pro-ject Co-ordinator, gave a status report on the study in which she said samples would be collected at the Skeldon and New Amsterdam Hospitals for Region Six, from the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) in Region Four and the Linden Hospital in Region 10. Clinical and lab technicians would be trained and equipment for the study has already been purchased and will be on the sites shortly.

Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy listed some of the STIs other than HIV/AIDS that would come within the purview of the study: bacteria vaginosis, chancroid, chlamydial infection, genital herpes, genital (venereal) warts, gonorrhoea, leukaemia-lymphoma, pubic lice, scabies, syphilis, and vaginal yeast infection.

He also warned that groups, which go abroad with the assistance of Health Ministry funding, whether NGOs or not, and state that the government is not doing anything in the health care sector would have their funds immediately withdrawn.