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One of the significant factors of effectiveness to combat the HIV epidemic is to implement successful prevention practices and programs among most-at-risk populations (MARPs). Today, within the framework of the UNDP ‘Continuing Scale Up of the Response to HIV’ (funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria), a number of HIV prevention services will be made available to MARPs in Uzbekistan. These services include the distribution of prevention tools, the dissemination of information communication materials, and the provision of information sessions on HIV prevention as well as referral clients targeted health care services.
In accordance with WHO recommendations, and in an effort to increase the effectiveness of HIV prevention programs, client access to voluntary HIV counseling and testing should be made available through the use of different approaches and models, and in facilities where target groups vulnerable to HIV can receive services. This recommendation is applicable to countries regardless of their stage in the HIV epidemic.
With technical assistance from UNDP a National Protocol on counseling and testing, using HIV rapid tests at Trust Points, has been developed and approved by the Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan. UNDP will support the training of 60 specialists from Trust Points throughout Uzbekistan, to ensure the smooth implementation of the National Protocol. UNDP has also supported the development of a training module that will be used for countrywide trainings. The start of training implementation is due to take place in August 2014.
Rapid test kits are highly sensitive and specific, are easy to use, and their implementation does not require additional medical equipment. The most positive aspect of the rapid tests is the results are receiving 15-30 minutes. The rapid HIV tests have been delivered to the country within the framework of UNDP project implementation.
Undoubtedly the introduction of rapid tests at trust points will make the service more accessible and attractive to program beneficiaries, and this approach will improve the effectiveness of HIV prevention programs in the country. The early diagnosis of HIV will allow for the timely initiation of antiretroviral treatment, thereby improving the quality of life of PLHIVs, and contribute to effective HIV prevention programming.
The UNDP project on HIV works together the Government of Uzbekistan in developing an effective and sustainable system to combat the HIV epidemic in Uzbekistan.
For questions & additional information:
Rakhima Nazarova, UNDP Uzbekistan