Chechen Officials Inaugurate HIV/AIDS Center
Senior Chechen officials on Wednesday at a public ceremony in the capital of Grozny inaugurated a center for people living with HIV/AIDS in the republic, Reuters reports. "Of course, the mentality of the Chechen people does not allow us to speak about problems such as AIDS and drug addiction because Chechens never faced such problems," Kheda Aidamarova, chief doctor of the clinic, said, adding, "The traditions of the Chechens did not allow people to lead a dissipated lifestyle. But today, as a result of the war, there is chaos in society, which has led to problems like AIDS and drugs and people exhibiting low moral standards." Aidamarova also said that Chechens should not "turn away from people who have problems like AIDS. Our aim is that people should not keep their problems to themselves but that they should feel support." According to Reuters, billboards promoting the AIDS center have been placed around the city. The billboards also encourage a healthy lifestyle and urge people to support those living with the disease.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov was the first official to discuss the republic's HIV/AIDS situation publicly, Reuters reports. Official data indicate that Chechnya has recorded 719 HIV cases, but the actual number of cases might be much higher, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/1).