For Immediate Release
Astana, Kazakhstan. January 28, 2023 – Today, the United States Embassy in Kazakhstan joins the world in marking the 20th anniversary of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Since 2003, the U.S. Government has invested $50 million to support Kazakhstan’s fight against HIV/AIDS through PEPFAR.
Over the course of two decades, this investment has resulted in tremendous progress: As of last year, 87 percent of people living with HIV in Kazakhstan are being treated successfully through antiretroviral therapy, and 90 percent of newly diagnosed patients, even from the most remote districts, begin this treatment within seven days of positive diagnosis.
However, despite impressive achievements against the disease, Kazakhstan is one of only a few PEPFAR-supported countries experiencing a rise in HIV infections, witnessing an 83 percent increase in new infections since 2010. The country’s HIV epidemic is concentrated primarily among marginalized groups which often experience stigma and discrimination. This is exactly why the U.S. Mission’s support for PEPFAR is focused on ensuring a people-centered approach to HIV prevention, detection and treatment in Kazakhstan.
Ambassador Rosenblum was able to see PEPFAR-supported work first-hand when he visited three sites in Ust-Kamenogorsk, an area in eastern Kazakhstan where HIV rates are among the highest in the country. There, he met with patients, clinicians, leaders of community based organizations, and peer navigators, who are essential to finding patients, bringing them to treatment centers, and helping prevent the disease from spreading.
Over the last 20 years, PEPFAR-supported innovation has been responsible for key milestones in the country’s progress against the disease, including: the first HIV surveillance in the country (2002), the development of Kazakhstan’s first Electronic HIV Case Management System (2010), the introduction of HIV self testing (2018), and the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (2021).
Through continued collaboration, innovation, and the expansion of advocacy efforts, the U.S. Mission believes making progress against rising HIV rates is still possible. As President Biden declared on World AIDS Day 2022, “we are within striking distance of eliminating HIV transmission worldwide,” and that, “we finally have the scientific understanding, treatments, and tools to build an AIDS-free future where everyone — no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love — can get the care and respect they deserve.”
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) support PEPFAR-funded HIV/AIDS programs in Kazakhstan’s Pavlodar and East Kazakhstan Regions. For more information about PEPFAR efforts in Kazakhstan and around the world, please visit https://www.state.gov/pepfar/.