I was recently sifting through last year’s pictures and reports of our UNDP-Global Fund HIV project and I was amazed to see the progress we made and the people we were able to help in a short period of time.
And the numbers tell the same story:
- Over 24,000 people of the most-at-risk populations from all regions benefited from HIV care, prevention, and support services and advocacy aimed at reducing high risk behaviour.
- Over 31,000 young people received HIV prevention services provided by peer educators.
- More than 3,800 people living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy and 210 specialists received basic and advanced training in antiretroviral therapy
- 365 health care practitioners received training for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
But challenges remain, and the stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV and high risk groups are persistent.
Uzbekistan is made up of very distinct social groups: traditional and conservative communities on one hand and progressive youth open to new ideas on the other.
However, most view people living with HIV the same way: “Those people contracted the disease because of their behaviour and they deserve it.”
When I hear these sort of comments I realize how much work remains to be done and how much effort it will take to change public opinion.
Yet, our efforts are already bearing fruit.
This was all made possible with two grants from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria received in 2010 and 2011.
The goals of the project are to prevent the spread of HIV, reduce its impact on the most vulnerable populations, and to strengthen health systems and national capacity for universal access to HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care in Uzbekistan.