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HIV affected persons becoming complacent – NAPS

The level of complacency amongst Guyanese affected by HIV has risen over the past few years, according to the director of National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Shanti Singh.
Dr Singh made those remarks on Monday at the Health Ministry/ UNAIDS launch of the fourth draft of the Country’s Progress Report for the 2010-2011 Stakeholders’ Consensus Meeting held at Cara Lodge, Georgetown.
Dr Singh said her agency is aware that people are being tested, but they are being “complacent” when it comes to getting treatment at the various centres set up across the country.

 

“What we find is that some persons for whatever reasons (self denial) will not come in for treatment because they don’t believe the results. They don’t believe their results, or they need to take some time off to think about what this thing means, and they need to take some time off to think about what it means for their family and friends.”
She added that NAPS has received information that shows that complacency results somewhat from the fact that taking the Anti Retro-Viral (ARV) drugs help those infected to live longer, healthier lives. “It is indeed so, because their quality of life has improved; but what they (persons who provide feedback) are saying is that there is a misconception that once you say that (talk about ARVs) people feel it is okay now… that they can have HIV, but you don’t necessarily need to rush things and get into the treatment programme.”
The NAPS director said that her agency is working to ensure that this perceived notion is erased from the minds of the public. “But we are working, we have seen that five years ago people were coming in much faster into the treatment programme, I believe now that people are taking their time again and we really don’t want to have that, because there are a number of repercussions: one if you are tested HIV positive and you don’t get into the treatment process early, you can be walking around with a very high viral load and be very infectious… If you don’t come in to get treatment, then you can be transmitting the virus,” Dr Singh added.
Long wait may equal high cost
She said too that that people who wait long periods before seeking treatment may see treatment being issued to them at a high cost. She explained: “When you do come in late, you might be coming in with opportunistic infections and we would have to be dealing with a very complicated case instead of dealing with a simple case that came in to us in a manageable manner, where we didn’t have to get all of the expensive meds for opportunistic infections.”
Dr Singh added that the Health Ministry through NAPS is in the process of revisiting and revising the testing and counselling programme. She explained that the current system provides for anonymous testing through a tester counsellor.
“One of the steps that we have actually taken is revising our testing and counselling programme and the tester counsellor is anonymous testing; so if you are tested positive based on the current programme, you are given a referral to go to a treatment site, we are actually expanding the scope of the work of the tester counsellor, to make the tester counsellor a case navigator so making it the responsibility of the tester counsellor to make sure that that person who is tested positive is registered in a treatment site,” she noted.
The level of complacency amongst Guyanese affected by HIV has risen over the past few years, according to the director of National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS), Dr Shanti Singh. Dr Singh made those remarks on Monday at the Health Ministry/ UNAIDS launch of the fourth draft of the Country’s Progress Report for the 2010-2011 Stakeholders’ Consensus Meeting held at Cara Lodge, Georgetown. Dr Singh said her agency is aware that people are being tested, but they are being “complacent” when it comes to getting treatment at the various centres set up across the country.“What we find is that some persons for whatever reasons (self denial) will not come in for treatment because they don’t believe the results. They don’t believe their results, or they need to take some time off to think about what this thing means, and they need to take some time off to think about what it means for their family and friends.”She added that NAPS has received information that shows that complacency results somewhat from the fact that taking the Anti Retro-Viral (ARV) drugs help those infected to live longer, healthier lives. “It is indeed so, because their quality of life has improved; but what they (persons who provide feedback) are saying is that there is a misconception that once you say that (talk about ARVs) people feel it is okay now… that they can have HIV, but you don’t necessarily need to rush things and get into the treatment programme.” The NAPS director said that her agency is working to ensure that this perceived notion is erased from the minds of the public. “But we are working, we have seen that five years ago people were coming in much faster into the treatment programme, I believe now that people are taking their time again and we really don’t want to have that, because there are a number of repercussions: one if you are tested HIV positive and you don’t get into the treatment process early, you can be walking around with a very high viral load and be very infectious… If you don’t come in to get treatment, then you can be transmitting the virus,” Dr Singh added. Long wait may equal high cost She said too that that people who wait long periods before seeking treatment may see treatment being issued to them at a high cost. She explained: “When you do come in late, you might be coming in with opportunistic infections and we would have to be dealing with a very complicated case instead of dealing with a simple case that came in to us in a manageable manner, where we didn’t have to get all of the expensive meds for opportunistic infections.” Dr Singh added that the Health Ministry through NAPS is in the process of revisiting and revising the testing and counselling programme. She explained that the current system provides for anonymous testing through a tester counsellor. “One of the steps that we have actually taken is revising our testing and counselling programme and the tester counsellor is anonymous testing; so if you are tested positive based on the current programme, you are given a referral to go to a treatment site, we are actually expanding the scope of the work of the tester counsellor, to make the tester counsellor a case navigator so making it the responsibility of the tester counsellor to make sure that that person who is tested positive is registered in a treatment site,” she noted.

Source: Guyanatimes