Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges for HIV+ Migrants in Tajikistan
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The recent 22nd International AIDS Conference in The Netherlands, which brought together more than 16,000 researchers, policy makers and community leaders from more than 160 countries, presented IOM with the chance to discuss HIV/AIDS among migrants in Central Asia.
The conference programme included nearly 3,000 samples of projects, ideas or pieces of work, along with dozens of satellite sessions, demonstrations, performances and community meetings.
IOM Tajikistan was among the panelists at the AIDS Foundation West East (AFEW) workshop “Migration in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: access to healthcare for all?”.
According to UNAIDS’ estimates, over 1.6 million people are living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, increasing by almost 10 per cent every year. Despite national HIV prevention and treatment programs, only around two-thirds of people living with HIV know that they are HIV positive, and only around 30 per cent have access to treatment.
IOM Tajikistan presented a poster on foreign nationals’ access to HIV services and took part at the session on cross border cooperation by sharing experiences on engaging the Tajik diaspora for TB and HIV prevention among migrants, and building partnerships with the Russian health authorities and HIV service organizations. The delegation’s participation at the conference was possible thanks to support of IOM Development Fund (IDF) and AFEW.
“HIV related information for the general population, and prevention among key populations are key to tackle the 180,000 new infections in the region every year”, noted Dr Jaime Calderon, Migration Health Advisor at IOM’s Vienna Regional Office.