HIV/AIDS in Guyana


A Project Consultant delivers a lecture on HIV/AIDS to students

at the University of Guyana



What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV, the abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that causes AIDS, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  The virus is transmitted when the bodily fluids of an infected person are passed to another through sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, needle sharing, or from mother-to-child during pregnancy or breastfeeding.  HIV/AIDS attacks and severely weakens the body’s immune system, making an individual more susceptible to infections and less able to fight off these infections.


HIV/AIDS in the world:

In its twenty-five year history, AIDS has claimed the lives of over 25 million people worldwide, and, as of yet, no cure has been found for this disease.  According to the 2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic, released by UNAIDS (available at, 38.6 million people around the world were HIV positive at the end of 2005.  The Report also notes that the incidence of HIV infection has stabilized around the world, although it has increased in some countries.  The epidemic is most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa. 


HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean:

According to UNAIDS, the Caribbean is the second-most affected region in the world, and AIDS is said to be the leading cause of death for those aged 15 – 44.  In 2005, an estimated 27,000 people died of AIDS in the region.


HIV/AIDS in Guyana:

Guyana is one of the few Caribbean countries whose HIV/AIDS epidemic has spread beyond specific high-risk groups into the general population; after Haiti, Guyana has the highest AIDS prevalence in the region.  In 2005, an estimated 12,000 individuals were HIV+ in the country, and the prevalence rate of HIV for those aged 15 – 44 was 2.4%. 


In relation to HIV/AIDS, the Project has a number of goals, including the development and adoption of National Guidelines for HIV/AIDS that will encompass the management of patients co-infected with HIV/AIDS and other STI or TB, a strengthened capacity to deliver and sustain the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS, and offering support for Guyana’s National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS).  To date, the Project has accomplished the following:

          Training and mentoring on the clinical management of HIV/AIDS

          Collaboration in the development of National Guidelines for HIV/AIDS, which have since been adopted

          Developing and implementing a core course for the University of Guyana on STI/HIV/AIDS/TB, that has also been adapted into a summer course for members of the general public

          Working with the Guyana MOH Division of Health Sciences Education to upgrade HIV/AIDS training, and continuous training and mentoring of health professionals in the four Project regions

          Collaboration with the ILO’s “HIV at the Workplace” training program

          Due to requests on the parts of these bodies, educational and training sessions in the area of HIV/AIDS were provided to the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Health Sector Development Unit, UNICEF, and the UNDP

          Collaboration with PAHO on a study of access to health care for commercial sex workers and men who have sex with men, the results of which are being used to update the guidelines for HIV/AIDS treatment

          The Project has helped to enhance service delivery in Guyana through the use of surveys, clinic reorganization, retreats, and counselor evaluation and training

          Training sessions and workshops delivered on HIV/AIDS have stressed the differential impacts of HIV/AIDS on men and women in order to facilitate more informed counseling interventions 


Some Useful AIDS Links

Government of Guyana - National AIDS Programme

International HIV/AIDS Workplace Education Programme

Caribbean AIDS Telecommunication Information Network

The Global Fund's AIDS, TB and Malaria projects in Guyana

FAO manual on nutritional care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS




CDC’s HIV/AIDS Prevention Home Page


WHO's HIV page

US Census Bureau's HIV/AIDS Surveillance Database

"The Body": an HIV/AIDS info resource

AIDS Education Global Information System

Twinning Against AIDS

ICAD’s Annotated Bibliography - Gender, HIV/AIDS and Development

AIDS Calgary

Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada

Planned Parenthood Canada

U of Alberta Free Health Software


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