AIDS funding cut poses challenge
Artiste in Direct Support is no stranger when it comes to Guyana’s battle against the HIV/AIDS virus. This non-governmental organization is one of the first groups that led the way in changing the views of society about the virus which was seen as a life sentence.
After years of service through public awareness and education campaigns this donor agency is struggling to keep its doors open as international funding continues to shift to other focus areas.
Desiree Edghill, the executive director of Artiste in Direct Support, says the NGO’s funding was drastically cut affecting several of its ongoing programs.
With the number of new HIV cases on the decline, funding is now being directed to key affected populations like men having sex with men, commercial sex workers and the mining industry.
Edghill says the NGO will have to find ways to sustain the work that is being done to eliminate the virus here in Guyana. She said working with the key affected populations is a challenge for the organization due to the lack of financial support.
For Artiste in Direct Support giving up the struggle in combating the HIV/AIDS virus is not an alternative at this time even as funds are dwindling.
According to the United Nations AIDS is responsible for some 25 million deaths globally since it was first detected more than 30 years ago.