Health Ministry discusses “AIDS Free” framework with partners
The super fast-track framework for ending AIDS among children, adolescents and young women by 2020 was under discussion on Thursday, when Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton, met with representatives of UNAIDS and the President Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).UNAIDS Country Director, Dr Martin Oditt and PEPFAR Coordinator of the Caribbean Regional Programme, Dr Jennifer Walsh, met with the Minister in his Brickdam office to discuss the framework under the theme “Start Free. Stay Free. AIDS Free.”The framework sets ambitious targets that are critical to reaching both the 90-90-90 targets and supporting countries to control, and ultimately end their AIDS epidemics.Among those targets are reaching and sustaining 95 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV with lifelong HIV treatment by 2018, and reducing the number of new HIV infections among adolescents and young women to less than 100,000 by 2020.The UNAIDS and PEPFAR representatives met with Minister Norton to discuss the adaptation of the framework to the national context with focus on key actions needed in Guyana.This was done in order to help the framework partners ensure that their actions and investments are aligned with the country’s needs and priorities in order to accelerate action and achieve results.Minister Norton said he is in full agreement with the framework, since it has been proven to be effective. He pointed out that the Public Health Ministry will support the implementation of the framework so that every child starts life HIV-free, adolescent girls and young women remain HIV-free and every child, adolescent and adult is given treatment as soon as they are diagnosed with HIV.The Public Health Minister acknowledged that the framework is going to cost the Government more, but it has no intention of shying away from its responsibility of ensuring that the 90-90-90 target is met.