Focus area 5: Preventing stigmas around HIV/AIDS

One of the issues that the UN Country Team (UNCT) will be strongly advocating in Turkmenistan is to prevent stigmas around HIV.

Stigma associated with HIV has been cited worldwide as a significant barrier preventing a successful and co-ordinated response because it occurs at multiple levels, including the interpersonal, institutional (health facilities, schools, and workplaces), community, and legislative levels.

HIV is a 'manageable' chronic disease, and antiretroviral therapy (ART) is enabling many people living with HIV and with access to the drugs to live into older age.

However, HIV-related stigma can make seeking and sustaining treatment difficult and fuel the HIV epidemic, because it prevents people from getting tested and treated for HIV.

Turkmenistan is a country with a reported low level of HIV/AIDS. However, the potential risk of HIV spreading exists, because of the increase in sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and drug use.

Improving people’s access to treatment will contribute to realization of human rights of people living with HIV.

The UNCT will encourage the national authorities to continue efforts to address stigma and misconceptions, to build effective stigma-reduction programme and policies and to strengthen HIV surveillance system ensuring availability of quality HIV data.

The UNCT agencies in Turkmenistan stand ready to provide technical expertise and policy advice to build a ground for and facilitate the adequate national health sector response for achieving Global HIV/AIDS targets.