On December 3-5, The United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Central Asian Association of People Living with HIV (CAA PLHIV) convened the Second Regional Forum of People Living with HIV to support and strengthen the capacity of national organizations in Central Asia. In order to stop the spread of HIV in Central Asia, an increase in public awareness of the disease and a persistent challenge to the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV are required.
The Forum promotes dialogue and exchange among organizations about efforts to prevent and reduce stigma and discrimination; prioritizes inter-regional cooperation among PLHIV networks; improves the availability of information on HIV prevention and PLHIV support programs; and develops partnerships and cooperation among government and civil society organizations that work with HIV.
United States Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Leslie Hayden and Deputy Minister of Health Navruz Jafarov addressed Forum participants. Chargé Hayden commented on the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS on individuals and families, but also on the economic and social welfare of countries around the world, and encouraged support for people who are living with HIV.
The results of the region’s first “Stigma Index” study were announced and participants discussed UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 objective, an ambitious treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic through increased access to treatment and prevention services. By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy; and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Representatives from Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, including the Ministries of Health, the Committee on Women and Family Affairs, the Republican AIDS Center, United Nations agencies, and the AIDS Foundation East-West participated in the forum.
The Leader for People Living with HIV project is one of the many assistance projects supported by the American people through USAID. USAID is the leading American government agency building social and economic prosperity together with the people of Central Asia.