Central Asian Governments Should Work Quickly To Address HIV/AIDS in Region, Official Says
Central Asian governments should act quickly to address the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region or face serious consequences, Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Prime Minister Nur uulu Dosbol said during a recent conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, the Times of Central Asia reports.
Dosbol said that people living with HIV/AIDS in Central Asia lack reliable access to treatment and that the virus is spreading uncontrollably among high-risk groups. He also noted that Central Asian nations have shortages of qualified medical workers and lack effective HIV testing strategies. Central Asia AIDS Control Project Executive Director Tilek Meimanaliev warned that the region could be on the verge of an epidemic. A U.S.-sponsored survey in 2006 found that 5% of the population was HIV-positive in some areas, the Times reports.
To better understand the HIV/AIDS situation in the region, USAID, CAAP and CDC have helped introduce a new surveillance technique in Central Asia that studies how HIV is spread, the Times reports. The technique -- which has been launched in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- investigates the dynamics of the disease and assesses the effectiveness of various prevention programs.
U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Marie Yovanovitch said that USAID, CDC and the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are planning to fund three HIV/AIDS programs in Central Asia to help local governments monitor the spread of the virus. Thirteen CAAP pilot projects are under way in four Central Asian states. The CAAP projects, funded by the World Bank and the United Kingdom Department for International Development, are working to strengthen partnerships between public, nongovernmental and private sectors. Dosbol said data from projects worldwide have shown that HIV prevention and treatment programs can be effective when civil society participates (Levina, Times of Central Asia, 3/21).