PANCAP South-South Learning Exchange to boost PrEP, HIV self-testing implementation in Region

Dr. Shanti Singh-Anthony, Coordinator, Knowledge Management, PANCAP Coordinating Unit
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(PANCAP Coordinating Unit, CARICOM Secretariat): 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, will facilitate a South-South knowledge exchange event in Georgetown, Guyana from 27-29 June 2022 in collaboration with Ministry of Health-Guyana, and the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS). The knowledge exchange is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and will focus on Guyana’s experience implementing Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HIV self-testing (HIVST).

The countries participating in the learning exchange event are Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Eight (8) persons from the four (4) countries will participate, 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.

Participants will interact with representatives of the Ministry of Health, clinical, CSO representatives and beneficiaries of the Guyana HIV programme.

According to Dr. Shanti Singh-Anthony, Coordinator, Knowledge Management, PANCAP, “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 (KPs), including implementing a PrEP programme and HIVST.

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,” stated Dr Singh-Anthony.

In addition, participants will 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.

Why Guyana?

Dr. Singh-Anthony explained that Guyana was selected because of the progress made by the NAPS in PrEP and 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% of People Living with HIV knew their HIV status. Guyana has also made significant progress in delivering PrEP to KPs; the NAPS has developed PrEP guidelines, trained clinicians, and developed systems. PrEP is available at fifteen (15) public, private and CSO locations.

HIVST is in the pilot phase, and Guyana’s testing algorithm was validated. HIVST kits can be accessed from four (4) 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.

Contact:

Timothy Austin

Senior Project Officer, Communications

PANCAP Coordinating Unit

CARICOM Secretariat

Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana

Email: taustin.consultant@caricom.org

Tel: (592) 222-0001-75, Ext. 3409 | Visit www.PANCAP.org

EDITOR’S NOTES

What is Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)?

Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is the use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs by persons without HIV infection to prevent the acquisition of HIV. It can be taken daily or on-demand, also known as event-driven PrEP.

What is HIV self-testing?

HIV self-testing allows people to take an HIV test and get their results in their home or other private location using an HIV self-testing kit. It offers a way to make testing discreet, comfortable, and empowering.

HELPFUL LINKS:

Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026, End Inequalities, End AIDS https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/global-aids-strategy-2021-2026-end-inequalities-end-aids/

Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS (CRSF) 2019-2025 https://pancap.org/pancap-documents/caribbean-regional-strategic-framework-2019-2025/

WHAT IS PANCAP?

PANCAP is a Caribbean regional partnership of governments, regional civil society organisations, regional institutions and organisations, bilateral and multilateral agencies and contributing donor partners which was established on 14 February 2001. PANCAP provides a structured and unified approach to the Caribbean’s response to the HIV epidemic, coordinates the response through the Caribbean Regional Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS to maximise efficient use of resources and increase impact, mobilises resources and build capacity of partners.

What are the Global AIDS Strategy 2021–2026 targets and commitments?

If targets and commitments in the strategy are achieved:

· The number of people who newly acquire HIV will decrease from 1.7 million in 2019 to less than 370 000 by 2025

· The number of people dying from AIDS-related illnesses will decrease from 690 000 in 2019 to less than 250 000 in 2025.

· The goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children will see the number of new HIV infections drop from 150 000 in 2019 to less than 22 000 in 2025.

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