UNDP holds national dialogue on HIV/AIDS

May 21, 2024
Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supports the country's efforts to improve health outcomes, particularly focusing on combating HIV/AIDS, enhancing emergency preparedness and response, and integrating climate aspects into healthcare. As part of its two-year initiative called SCALE, UNDP actively supports various population-oriented strategies and approaches to legislative reform in countries participating in the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), of which Kazakhstan is a part.

According to the Kazakh Scientific Center of Dermatology and Infectious Diseases, at the end of 2023, more than 30.000 people were living with HIV in Kazakhstan. In 2023, 4,044 new cases were reported, 75 percent (3,071) of which were among the working population aged 15-49 years.

In support of these initiatives, on 21 May, a National SCALE Dialogue took place in Astana, representing an important step towards coordinated measures in response to HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan. The event aimed to bring together stakeholders from various sectors to discuss critical issues and opportunities for expanding access to services for key population groups in Kazakhstan. This dialogue is particularly focused on addressing the legal and access barriers that hinder the provision and uptake of services related to HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. 

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

During the dialogue, participants reviewed current epidemiological data on HIV/AIDS in the country, as well as the challenges and prospects for implementing relevant programmes. Approaches to decriminalizing legal norms affecting people living with HIV/AIDS were explored, and effective plans were formulated to enhance the involvement of governmental partners, non-governmental organizations, and key population groups, targeted by HIV/AIDS programmes.

Preliminary results of the SCALE initiative were also presented at the event. Grant recipients from Kazakhstan, who received funding to develop strategies, tactics, and approaches to combat discriminatory laws and policies negatively impacting vulnerable population groups, delivered presentations. As a global initiative, SCALE covers four countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. A key component of SCALE is the "Law and Access" grants programme, which serves as an investment in building the capacity of local organizations who know their communities' needs best. Over the past two years, with support from the SCALE initiative, eight organizations in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Ukraine have received grants, two of which are being implemented in Kazakhstan.

It is expected that such open dialogue will contribute to a better understanding of the issues and opportunities in combating HIV/AIDS, strengthen consensus on the need for decriminalization and legal reform, and help identify practical steps and commitments to eliminate discriminatory norms and practices towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan