Goodwill Ambassador Vera Brezhneva and local stars are supporting people living with HIV in Kyrgyzstan

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Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (May 16, 2017) - On May 16, 2017 in Bishkek, a press conference will be taking place with the participation of the Goodwill Ambassador of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a singer, actress and TV presenter Vera Brezhneva.

Vera Brezhneva was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador in 2014. Since her appointment, Ms. Brezhneva has been actively involved in HIV prevention activities in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Vera is constantly meeting with people living with HIV, women, teenagers, young people affected by the AIDS epidemic and actively promoting issues of fighting against the stigma and discrimination at the meetings with decision makers.

As it is well-known that discrimination has no boundaries. According to Ms. Brezhneva, almost in all countries she visited during her tenure (over 10 countries), she has met with women and children affected by the epidemic and everywhere they talked about discrimination in various spheres of life, which they have to face. Kyrgyzstan is no exception and today Vera had a meeting with women and teenagers living with HIV. Despite the availability of HIV prevention programs in Kyrgyzstan and adequate legislation, mothers of teenagers living with HIV are frightened and many are forced to hide both their and child’s status even from their own relatives. Very often teenagers do not have access to health services. In particular, problems of dental treatment were mentioned and in educational institutions, it is required to disclose the status of a child in order to protect healthy children. Fear of disclosing their status pushes women to the fact that many of them are ready to leave their homes, families and move to other regions or even to other countries. It is essential that no one find out that she or her child is infected.

Vera pointed out that all HIV transmission ways are well known such as; through blood, unprotected sexual intercourse and breast milk from an HIV-infected mother to a child. «HIV is not transmitted in everyday life; through kisses and hugs; sharing a school with a child with HIV infection are all not dangerous and will never be dangerous», said Ms. Brezhneva. «Discrimination not only breaks the fate of people who need our support and help. Discrimination prevents society from effectively countering the epidemic: while people in need of help do not turn to it because of the fear of rejection. If a person starts treatment on time, the amount of the virus in the blood will be under control and the risk of transmission is low».

According to Vinay Saldanha, the UNAIDS Regulatory Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in 2016 Kyrgyzstan signed the Political Declaration on ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Signatory states committed themselves that by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV will know their status; 90% of people living with HIV who know their status will receive treatment; and 90% of people receiving treatment will achieve a zero viral load. Achieving such ambitious goals will be possible only if the society overcomes prejudices and fears by reducing the level of stigma and discrimination and join forces with people affected by the epidemic.

«UNAIDS welcomes young and well-known Kyrgyz music artists, local TV presenters and models who have joined preventive programs and actively promoting issues related to the eradication of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. Each of us can contribute to the eradication of stigma and discrimination», said Vinay Saldanha.

UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve a common vision: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS brings together 11 UN agencies - UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN-Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank - and works closely with global and national partners to put an end to the AIDS epidemic by 2030 in the framework of global sustainable development goals. You can learn more at unaids.org or by contacting us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

For additional questions on the HIV situation in Kyrgyzstan you can contact the UNAIDS Country Director - Meerim Sarybaeva by email: sarybaevam@unaids.org