For Immediate Release
The Ministry of Health, Neman-Pharm, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are partnering up to distribute free HIV self-testing kits. The kits will be available in 32 pharmacies in Bishkek, Osh city, and across the Chui and Osh regions. The new model of distribution aims to improve access to HIV testing for the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach groups. The official inauguration ceremony of the self-testing kit distribution took place today in Bishkek.
The testing kits include an HIV test based on saliva, educational materials, prevention products, and contact information about facilities where a person can seek services. Prior to picking them up at the pharmacies, interested individuals must order them online through this website: www.epictest.live
"This new distribution model will help us further improve early detection of new HIV cases and their timely linkage to live-saving antiretroviral therapy," says Dr. Umutkan Chokmorova, the Director of the Ministry of Health's Republican Center for Control of Blood Contact Viral Hepatitis and HIV (RCCBCVH & HIV).
“We welcome this private-sector partnership. It is a big step in expanding the availability of testing for those at greatest risk and and supports HIV prevention and HIV treatment services,” says Nisha Gupta, Director of the Health & Education Office at the USAID Kyrgyz Republic.
As of 2022, there are 10,000 registered people living with HIV in the Kyrgyz Republic, and while the number of cases remains level and driven by high-risk groups, in much of the world, cases are decreasing.
This activity is part of USAID’s “Meeting Targets and Achieving Epidemic Control” – a five-year, global project funded by the U.S Government’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that was launched globally 20 years ago. Since 2016, USAID conducted more than half a million HIV tests in the Kyrgyz Republic. Currently, more than 4,000 people living with HIV/AIDS receive lifesaving, antiretroviral therapy in the country.