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Reasons for sharp increase in HIV-positive in Kyrgyzstan announced

According to the Republican AIDS Center, a sharp increase in HIV-positive people has been observed over the past five years in Kyrgyzstan. The highest rate is in the capital, as well as in large regions and cities of the republic. Director of the center Umutkan Chokmorova told 24.kg news agency how and why the incidence rate is growing.

According to her, 82 HIV-infected citizens were detected in just two months of 2020. There are 43 cases in Bishkek, 12 — in Chui region, 10 — in Jalal-Abad region, five people were registered in Osh and Osh region, four — in Issyk-Kul and three — in Batken.

«An increase in the number of HIV-infected people shows a low awareness of the population. Therefore, it is necessary to step up the program for informing citizens,» Umutkan Chokmorova said.

«The number of people taking an HIV test is also growing. Last year, 467,200 people found out their status. In 2018, at least 411,666 citizens passed the HIV / AIDS test, and in 2017 — 418,806,» the head of the center told.

As the head of the AIDS Center noted, stigma and discrimination related to HIV and AIDS are the main obstacles to prevention of new cases. «When a person finds out his or her HIV status, they withdraw into themselves and does not go to medical centers in order to avoid discrimination in society in particular. Internal and external migration makes the treatment of the infected difficult. Because when a Kyrgyzstani is diagnosed with HIV abroad, he or she is sent for examination to homeland. After the examination, they receive medication for three months and return to work,» Umutkan Chokmorova told.

She also notes a weak interaction of government agencies with people living with HIV, with key populations.

«The irresponsible attitude of young people to their health and engaging in casual sex without a condom is another factor in the spread of the disease. They are not used for various reasons, for example, trust between partners, violence from clients of sex workers and so on. HIV infection is especially common in people aged from 20 to 39 years,» the center stresses.

The use of non-sterile needles, syringes and water for washing in tattoo studios, dental and cosmetology clinics contribute to an increase in the incidence rate. «A person is at great risk of getting infected with HIV there. Blood containing the immunodeficiency virus can get directly into the circulatory system through a needle on the syringe, which makes the risk of infection very high,» the center reminds.

«An increase in HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is also registered among men, who have sex with men and the people who provide sex services. This is a closed group of the population, because there is pressure, persecution by law enforcement agencies of these representatives of society. They go underground that is why AIDS center employees have limited access to these groups to examine their health,» the center notes.