World Bank Grant To Support Afghanistan's Efforts To Fight HIV/AIDS

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The World Bank on Tuesday approved a $10 million grant to support the Afghan government's efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in the country, Pajhwok Afghan News reports.The Afghanistan HIV/AIDS Prevention Project is designed to increase thecountry's capacity to respond to the disease by scaling up preventionprograms that target high-risk groups, including injection drug users,truckers, inmates, and commercial sex workers and their clients.

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Theproject aims to improve knowledge about HIV prevention, strengthensurveillance of HIV cases and high-risk behavior, map and estimate thesize of groups engaged in high-risk behavior and reduceHIV/AIDS-related stigma. Mariam Claeson, World Bank HIV/AIDScoordinator for South Asia, said that although HIV prevalence in thecountry is low, the virus "has a high potential for rapid spread due tothe current increase in injecting drug use." Claeson added thatHIV/AIDS prevention programs in Afghanistan have been "fragmented on asmall scale" and that the new project "will be critical" in meeting theunmet needs of existing programs.

A 2006 study found that 3%of IDUs in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, were HIV-positive. The studyalso found that the number of officially recorded HIV cases in thecountry is 71, although UNAIDS and the World Health Organization estimate the number of HIV cases in Afghanistan to be between 1,000 and 2,000, Pajhwok Afghan News reports. According to the World Bank, the HIV epidemic in Afghanistan is concentrated among IDUs and their partners (Pajhwok Afghan News, 8/1).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and signup for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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