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No word of increased HIV in Region One

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) at the Ministry of Public Health Dr Shamdeo Persaud says there is no confirmation regarding an increase in the number of persons being tested positive for HIV/AIDS in Region One among the Warrau Amerindians

Dr Persaud in a recent interview with Demerara Waves explained that the Ministry has expanded its facilities to the area and the increase in positive cases does not mean an increase in victims.

“We have been expanding HIV testing all over the country and we have been finding more cases, so I think that’s one of the things,” he stated later adding “I don’t know about these specific cases in Region One, But I know we are expanding testing in these areas.

The new trend is despite there having been a decline in infection rates countrywide.

“They might still be picking up cases that were there so it might appear as though there are increases but the cases were always there,” he stated.

Questioned about the availability of treatment, the CMO confirmed that steps have already been put in place to ensure that treatment is available in all ten of Guyana’s administrative regions.

“Definitely everyone who is tested positive must be in care…once they meet a certain criteria they are put on a full course of anti-retrovirals,” he stated.’

Scientists say there is a dramatic high prevalence was documented in almost all the communities of Warrau Amerindians from the Orinoco Delta tested for HIV-1 infection.  This epidemic resulted from the dissemination of a single HIV-1 subtype B founder strain introduced about 10 years ago and its size is probably doubling every year, creating a situation that can be devastating for this vulnerable Amerindian group.

The Warraus move freely between Venezuela and Region One in Guyana.