Progress on PrEP, HIV self-testing leads Guyana to host PANCAP exchange

Guyana has been selected to facilitate the South-South knowledge exchange for the Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) – the mechanism that provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic.
The country has been chosen because of the progress made by the National Aids Programme Secretariat (NAPS) in Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV self-testing (HIVST) implementation, and the wealth of experience to be shared with the region.
Guyana is one of the first countries in the region to have achieved the ‘First 90’. At the end of 2020, 94 per cent of people living with HIV knew their status. Guyana has also made significant progress in delivering PrEP to key populations; the NAPS has developed PrEP guidelines, trained clinicians, and developed systems. PrEP is available at 15 public, private and CSO locations.
HIV-self testing is in the pilot phase, and Guyana’s testing algorithm has been validated. Kits can be accessed from four public, private and CSO locations.
In addition, the NAPS has plans to scale up and make more sites accessible.
The South-South knowledge exchange is part of PANCAP’s overarching strategy to enhance the skills of National AIDS programme technical teams and CSO representatives in implementing PrEP and HIVST.
The South-South Knowledge exchange will be facilitated in Georgetown next week under funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will focus on Guyana’s experience in implementing PrEP and HIV HIVST.
The countries participating in the learning exchange event are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Eight persons from these four countries would participate in the exchange, including National AIDS Programme (NAP) managers and clinical care coordinators, HIV clinicians and civil society organisation (CSO) representatives who work closely with the national programme in the implementation of PrEP, HIVST, and other aspects of the HIV response.
PANCAP Coordinator Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony underscored that participants will experience firsthand how the Ministry of Health, National AIDS Programme has coordinated and collaborated with CSOs, the private sector, and other stakeholders in delivering comprehensive HIV services in the community and to key populations.
She also explained that site visits would be conducted to public, private and community clinics, where participants would have the opportunity to interact with clinic staff.
“This will allow participants to understand how the PrEP service delivery and HIVST are organised and delivered, the number and skill set of the clinical team, and other resources available for supporting service delivery,” Dr Singh-Anthony has stated.
In addition, participants would interact with the beneficiaries of the clinics, particularly KPs. There will also be opportunities for participants to accompany the NAP and CSO teams to community outreaches to identify and recruit KPs for HIV prevention, HIVST and PrEP. (G12)