Bishkek – On July 15, at 7 pm at the Victory Park in Bishkek there will be an event commemorating victims of HIV/AIDS. The event, “There is treatment. There is no time”, is affiliated with the International Day Against Drug Abuse on June 26. Event participants will plant flowers in remembrance of those who lost their fight with AIDS. Event guests will receive red balloons and pins with the event message. Event organizers will disseminate information about drug abuse prevention and opportunities for people living with HIV. Event participants will also discuss how to finance HIV treatment with government funds. Following the event, advertisement boards will be installed around Bishkek carrying the message “HIV: There is treatment. There is no time. Include our right to life in the state budget.”
Today, there are over 5,500 people living with HIV in the Kyrgyz Republic, and the number is growing. The most detrimental effect of HIV is undermining a person’s immune system which leads to frequent illnesses and long recovery periods. Antiretrovirus therapy (ARVT) gives people living with HIV a new chance by significantly strengthening their immune system. In addition, ARVT significantly decreases the virus count in blood which minimizes the risk of passing the infection to another person. For instance, ARVT prevents mothers from passing HIV to their babies during childbirth and breastfeeding.
Zhyldyz, one of the event organizers, learned about her HIV diagnosis several years ago. She says: “At one point my immune system became so weak I could not even get up. I kept getting sick. But when I started taking ARVT, I could see that I was getting better. Today, five years into ARVT, I forgot about frequent illnesses. I gave birth to a wonderful daughter who is HIV free.”
The event is organized by the Central Asian Network of People Living with HIV as part of USAID’s Leader project.