Guyana launches project aimed at reducing spread of HIV, improving treatment, prevention among prison inmates

October 10, 2015

The project also has allowed the purchase of equipment to establish voluntary HIV counseling and testing in prisons, as well as programs aimed at training prison officers to provide HIV care and counseling.

According to Lorna Harry, coordinator of the HIV/AIDS program, the ministry is concerned about the increasing number of inmates entering the prison with HIV or other diseases and is working to integrate and promote safer behaviors among inmates. Three inmates have been trained to provide support to medical staff providing care to HIV-positive inmates. A prison officer also was trained in HIV/AIDS Life Cycle Management, which will allow him to facilitate discussions on issues involving the disease. In addition, about 122 people and 131 prison officers were recruited to participate in training on HIV/AIDS prevention.

The ministry with funding from the World Bank recently opened a high-dependency care unit at Lusignan Prison to facilitate care and management of inmates living with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. According to Harry, the ministry has spent about 1.3 million Guyanese dollars -- or about $6,600 -- on equipment to aid in HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in prisons. An additional 535,000 Guyanese dollars -- or about $2,700 -- will establish a voluntary counseling and testing site at Georgetown Prison, which will be staffed by prison officers who have been trained by the National AIDS Programme Secretariat. Harry added that about 4.4 million Guyanese dollars -- or about $22,400 -- in total from the Ministry of Health and the home affairs ministry has been allocated to enhance health care in Guyana's prisons, Stabroek News reports (Stabroek News, 10/29).

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