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Largest Ever Regional AIDS Conference to Review Epidemic Status and Changing Challenges in the Response
Date:5/1/2008

AIDS. "However HIV-related stigma and discrimination continues to hamper HIV prevention efforts in the region and renewed political action is needed if real progress is to be achieved."

The HIV Epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: At a Crossroad

Over the last decade, efforts to fight and treat HIV and AIDS have started to have a positive impact. According to the AIDS Epidemic Update Report released in December 2007 by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, the estimated number of new HIV infections in the region fell from 230,000 in 2001 to 150,000 in 2007. But while the pace of the epidemic has slowed compared to 2000, the number of people living with HIV throughout the region continues to grow. Also, annual numbers of HIV diagnoses newly reported in 2006-2007 show an increase compared to previous years in Ukraine, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

"Knowing the epidemic and better understanding the most vulnerable and affected populations will be the key to better targeting interventions, increasing effectiveness and sustaining existing momentum," said Michel Kazatchkine, the executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. "We have a strong and growing momentum behind the response. However, we face new challenges as many countries transition programs from external to national funding."

Civil society organizations have played a critical role throughout the region in reaching those most affected by HIV and accelerating access to and the effectiveness of prevention and treatment programs. Governments have also increased their support. For example, for 2006-2008, the Russian Federation provided $24 million to civil society organizations working in the area of HIV in addition to more than $800 million directed to other prevention, treatment and care programs and established the Governmental commission on HIV/AIDS, w
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SOURCE Eastern Europe and Central Asia AIDS Conference
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