HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan

Introduction The first case of HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan was detected in 1987. Today, there are about 5,440 people reported to live with the virus, including about 313 with full-blown AIDS. Other data estimates the number of people infected as high as 16,500. This makes Kazakhstan the most severely affected Central Asian country. The spread of HIV/AIDS was until recently mostly limited to intravenous drug users. An ILO report from 2002 stated that: The most common HIV transmission route is parenteral, i.e. 87 per cent of all cases of virus transmission are through injecting drug use, with 6.4 per cent for…

HIV/Aids in Kyrgyzstan

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a series of New Eurasia country blogs universal posts. The idea is that all of the individual blogs will post on a particular topic – in this case on the HIV/AIDS situation – on the same day, collectively providing an overview of the given issue in the region. If you have ideas for a topic you’d like to see covered as a universal post, drop the New Eurasia team a line. Thinking about HIV/AIDS in Kyrgyzstan, several things become very clear very quickly: so far, registered cases of HIV/AIDs have been…

UN’s Helping Hand

Neighbouring Afghanistan inevitably means that Turkmenistan is a crucial conduit of illicit drugs towards Europe. It is therefore interesting to note that Turkmen border guards and custom officials are undergoing training sessions organised the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in conjunction the OSCE. In addition to offering coaching on border management, participants will also be instructed on techniques in searching trains and ships. Hands-on training will take place in ships in Kransovodsk sea port. In other United Nations related news the UN’s new Resident Representative in Turkmenistan Richard Young gave an interview to IRIN. He spoke about efforts…

HIV/AIDS in Uzbekistan

In 2005 UNAIDS reported that Uzbekistan had more than 5,600 officially recognised HIV cases (pdf). It said: “Among the Central Asian republics, Uzbekistan is experiencing the most dynamic epidemic. In 1999, just 28 HIV diagnoses were reported there; last year there were 2016 new HIV infections, bringing to more than 5600 the total number of HIV cases (EuroHIV, 2005). Injecting drug use is the driving force in this epidemic, which has its epicentre in the capital Tashkent and surrounding districts. Fuelling the epidemic is an overlap between injecting drug use and commercial sex. HIV prevalence of 10% was found among…

HIV/AIDS in Tajikistan

The problem of HIV/AIDS has been a relatively new one in Tajikistan. Closed borders have kept the country and its people isolated from HIV/AIDS during soviet rule. Such isolation has been a blessing, but it became a curse in recent years since it led to a knowledge vacuum that took its toll on the population after the country became independent. Of all Central Asian countries, Tajikistan shares the longest border with Afghanistan (one of the major producers of illegal drugs in the world). Since the use of IV drugs is the largest contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS, it was…

Lupine Mayhem

Unlike the United States, where wolves are considered an endangered species and protected, Kyrgyzstan faces an exploding population of wolves that are becoming a menace. Experts suggest the wolf population has multiplied three- or fourfold in recent years [in Kyrgyzstan]. Attacks would normally be rare, restricted only to instances when a wolf is suffering from extreme hunger. But they are no longer a rarity. Some of the stories tell of savage assaults. Passing a field in the Chui region of Kyrgyzstan, a taxi driver, Bakyt Mailiev, said, “recently on this field, wolves threw themselves on two tractor drivers. One managed…

Blogosphere Roundup

These roundups are posted on Global Voices and appear a day or two later on our homebase. Buzkashi in Tajikistan – by Dushanbe Pictures, Erik Petersson, 2006. Armenia: The Armenia section of our travels through the regional blogosphere is essentially a roundup of three great roundups: Onnik Krikorian continues to post weekly summaries from the Armenian blogosphere on his Oneworld blog. This week has been heavily dominated by failed peace talks between arch-rivals Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Another roundup is brought to us by Myrthe, a Dutch national with a passion for everything Armenian. She…

Central Asian Tiger Becomes Largest Investor in Georgia

By Nurzhan Zhambekov According to the official statements of the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, which was broadcast on radio “Georgia” Kazakhstan has become the largest investor in Georgia. (KUB.kz, February 10) The Caucasus Republic’s head of state has come up with an ambition to turn the Black Sea coast of Adjaria into an international resort. There is an agreement between the government of Georgia and Kazakhstan’s second largest bank Turan Alem, whereby the Kazakh side would commence construction of new hotels in Adjaria in the year 2007. Previously the Kazakh bank had already stated its willingness to invest into Georgia…

You Wait for One Gas Deal…

Turkmenistan has once again threatened to rock the boat over the Russia-Ukraine gas dispute by pledging another hike in gas prices. In an announcement on Turkmen state television President Saparmurat Niyazov suggested that the cost of gas exported from his country could be increased by around 50 percent to $100 per 1,000 cubic metres. This follows a raise in the price being sold to Russia and Ukraine to $65 from an earlier rate $44 per 1,000 cubic metres. As has been widely reported, this threatens to upset the uneasy truce over gas tariffs reached between Kiev and Moscow earlier this…

GDP Grows 9.4%

Kazakhstan’s economy is growing in leaps and bounds, at a whopping 9.4% increase in GDP in 2005, matching the increase in 2004. As positive as that impressive figure sounds, it is almost entirely the result of the current price of oil, and is not necessarily indicative of the state of the Kazakh economy. … the “Dutch syndrome” – harm to a country’s industry caused by excess cash inflows from sales of natural resources – looms as a major threat to Kazakhstan’s longer-term economic well-being. The only sector rivalling energy in terms of rapid expansion is the construction industry, whose share…

Microfinance brings hope

Tajiks, or at least some of them, are capitalizing on United Nations micro-loans. Initiated by the Tajik government and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the local Women in Development bureau is providing assistance to rural women through training and micro-credits. UNDP’s programme on community development in Tajikistan is currently working in 30 districts of the former Soviet republic and has distributed loans worth some $3 million, with around 40,000 beneficiaries, of whom some 30 percent are women. The article provides an anecdotal case study, but hopeful nonetheless. Mavliuda decided to borrow a micro-credit to buy seeds and…

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