WHO and UNAIDS in Tajikistan: “Together we can combat AIDS - with effort, success can be achieved”

On 1 December 2011, World AIDS Day is celebrated to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and demonstrate international solidarity in the face of the pandemic. The day is also an opportunity for public and private partners to encourage progress in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care in high prevalence countries. In Tajikistan, on the initiative of the Republican HIV/AIDS Centre, the Ministry of Health of Tajikistan and in cooperation with all international partners, a regional scientific and practical conference on HIV/AIDS in the CIS countries will be dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Centre on 5-6 December 2011.

The conference will gather representatives from HIV services and organizations from CIS countries. It will be a key event for reaching the goals and objectives in strengthening the health system, as well as help strengthen the partnership and coordination needed to achieve results in combating such problems as HIV/AIDS. In addition to this event, on 2 December, the WHO Country Office, jointly with UNAIDS, will conduct an informative and entertaining educational show for youth on HIV/AIDS matters which will also include the award of prizes.

Despite the fact that the current HIV epidemic in Tajikistan is currently under control, the number of new HIV cases is growing from year to year. The problem of HIV infection is recognized in the Republic of Tajikistan at the highest political level, and the government, along with the civil society and international partners, respond in a timely manner with adequate measures to overcome the challenges posed by the epidemic.

“It is crucially important to note that people living with HIV should not be left aside, because they are most at risk of isolation and faced with problems of stigma and discrimination in society. Achieving results in reducing the incidence of HIV should remain an important element in strengthening and developing the health system. We must continue our efforts, then success can be achieved,” said Dr Pavel Ursu, Head/WHO Representative, WHO Country Office, Tajikistan.

“Currently, there are serious challenges to confront the HIV epidemic in Tajikistan, such as the impact of the global financial crisis, the existence of factors that increase vulnerability to HIV/ AIDS, significant levels of stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in society. Overcoming these obstacles will contribute to concerted efforts of all partners to mobilize resources, increase public awareness, improve the quality of services and eliminate the stigma and discrimination," said Dr Maria Boltaeva, UNAIDS Coordinator in Tajikistan. “The UNAIDS Office in Tajikistan, in cooperation with its co-sponsors in the United Nations system will continue to provide technical support to the Ministry of Health and the HIV/AIDS Republican Centre in resource mobilization and capacity building for service delivery, providing strategic information and monitoring of the epidemic for the successful achievement of the Millennium Development Goals."

The aim of conducting World AIDS Day is a call for more people to be aware of the problem of HIV/ AIDS, and other related social problems in society. It is particularly important to show how the health system and policy-makers are working to make services accessible to people living with HIV, and enable them to be full citizens of the world.