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Kyrgyz authorities in recent months have expressed greater willingness to promote needle exchange programs, which have proven effective in preventing the spread of the HIV virus that causes AIDS. In addition, up to 80 percent of prostitutes now use condoms, according to the report.
The report titled Uncovering the Dangers of Drug Use in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan -- was commissioned by the International Harm Reduction Project of the Open Society Institute in New York. It was based on extensive field research conducted in the region, including discussions with drug users and aid workers.
Drug users face a variety of barriers to receiving treatment, including a lack of information about the dangers posed by narcotics and the high cost of rehabilitation programs. The cost for a 10-day treatment program is between $200-$300, which makes it unaffordable for most Kyrgyz.
The Kyrgyz government does not have firm figures for the number of drug users in the country. Officials guess that there are about 4,500 regular drug users, but independent experts suggest that figure is a drastic underestimation. The percentage of women drug users has risen in recent years from 10 percent to 35 percent.
Up to 800,000 HIV tests are given every year, according to the study. Overall, there have been 47 people identified as having been infected with the HIV virus, 37 of them foreigners. In addition to HIV prevention efforts, the government has taken steps to reduce the spread of tuberculosis. Over 1,000 patients are treated every year at the main TB hospital in Bishkek.
Click here to read about trends in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Those wishing to find out more about
the report can contact Anna Moshkova at the Open Society Institute.
She can be reached by email at: [email protected]
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