World AIDS Day: Government of Kazakhstan, UNICEF, WHO press conference
A press conference was held on World AIDS Day, 1 December 2006, at the Ministry of Health, Astana, Kazakhstan. The Kazakh Minister of Health Mr. A Dernovoy, the UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan, Alexandre Zouev, and officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) discussed the latest HIV and AIDS epidemiological data in Kazakhstan.
Mr. Dernovoy expressed the government’s thanks to UNICEF and other international agencies for the support given to strengthen the country’s response to AIDS, and in particular for providing emergency assistance to the children in South Kazakhstan who became infected with HIV earlier this year.
Over the last 12 months, there has been a noticeable increase in number of registered HIV cases. There were 1,431 cases newly registered in 2006, almost double the number of the previous year.
The total number of people registered as HIV-positive on 1 November is 7,088, of which 445 are suffering from AIDS. Of these, 1,745 are living in Karagandinskaya oblast, 1,378 in Almaty, 1,061 in Pavlodarskays oblast and 872 registered in South Kazakhstan oblast.
Addressing the situation in South Kazakhstan, it was underlined that the incidence of HIV infection among children in the oblast had stabilized, suggesting the situation had been brought under control. All the measures required for a rapid response to a HIV outbreak had been taken and HIV-affected children and their families had received treatment and rehabilitation support.
Mr. Zouev noted the significant role of psychosocial counselling and timely anti-retroviral therapy (ART) provided to the HIV-infected children and their families. UNICEF assisted the South Kazakhstan Oblast (SKO) AIDS Centre and the Department of Health in establishing a regular psychosocial counselling service and organized visits by international consultants who are experts on treatment and counselling.
As at 1 December, 2006, 81 children have tested positive for HIV, along with nine mothers of HIV-infected children. Thirty beds have been earmarked for providing medical and preventative assistance to children in the municipal infection hospital.
Some 22 children are currently receiving ART in accordance with international standards and eight are being treated for associated illnesses. To reduce the further spread of HIV infection, since last October, 65,405 people have been examined, including 9,614 children under the age of five who were treated in hospitals where the outbreak occurred, 3,143 health care workers, 231 blood donors and 33,725 pregnant women.
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan has given 100m Kazakhstan Tenge (780,000 USD) to equip the SKO AIDS Centre with the appropriate medical facilities.