Drug Trade in Central Asia Could Contribute to Increase in Number of Kyrgyzstani HIV/AIDS Cases, U.N. Office Says
Kyrgyzstan may experience a rise in its HIV/AIDS prevalence as a result of increasing illegal drug trafficking in Central Asia, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa said on Wednesday at the opening of the nation's Drug Control Agency in the capital city of Bishkek, the Associated Press reports. Costa said that drugs moving through the country have caused "much more systemic damage to society" because of HIV transmission associated with injection drug use. He added that HIV and drug addiction in Central Asia are "sad and real problem[s]." Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev said, "The increase in drug trafficking through our country has led to a rapid growth of drug abuse via injections, which threatens a catastrophic rise of HIV and hepatitis cases." Costa said that the Drug Control Agency -- which was established with the support of the United Nations and $6 million in funding from the United States -- would be "extremely effective" but must be "run with integrity [and] transparency" (Toktogulov, Associated Press, 5/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.