USAID Launches HIV React Project to Decrease HIV in Kyrgyz Prisons

USAID and the AIDS Foundation East-West (AFEW) will launch a program called – HIV React Project in Bishkek, designed to decrease the HIV infection rate in prisons across the country, Akipress reports.

HIV React is a two-year regional project designed to enhance HIV prevention, treatment, and medical care in prisons. It has a special focus on intravenous drug users and prisoners living with HIV. It will make use of a tested model of support for prisoners before and after their release.

The reason why so many people are affected by HIV in prisons is that they are abusing drugs while locked up in cells. People don’t seem to realize this and that is the main problem because if they would just do something about this issue, then the percent of HIV infected people will significantly be lowered. However, they decide to launch a specialized HIV react project that will decrease the HIV in prisons. Of course, there is no evidence that this project will ever work out because it hasn’t been used before anywhere else.

People easily get infected with the HIV virus because they are abusing all kinds of drugs and most of them require a needle to inject into their body. In prisons, getting your hands on a needle should be impossible because that can be used as a weapon. However, some people still manage to somehow get them inside and use them for taking drugs. The problem with this is that the hygiene level in prison is very low and bacteria and viruses can easily spread. Furthermore, in prison, more people share the same needle for a long period of time because they don’t have other option.

The model is designed to act as a bridge for people to transition from prison to society and diminish the risk of HIV infection, the United States Embassy in Bishkek said.
During an AFEW-organized opening workshop in Kyrgyzstan, officials from the State Penitentiary Service, the “National Narcology Center,” the National AIDS Center, the Ministry of Health, and civil society reps will be given an opportunity to gain information on the project and discuss health conditions in prisons as well as joint measures to prevent ‘socially significant diseases’ (STDs and other infectious diseases – ed.) in prisoner populations.