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    1 December 1999
    World Aids Day 1999

    UNDCP and UNAIDS Launch Major HIV/AIDS 
    Prevention Initiative in Central Asia

    (Issued as received from UNDCP)


      VIENNA, 1 December (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), in conjunction with UNAIDS and its other co-sponsors, announced today it will establish four new AIDS prevention projects in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.  UNDCP became the seventh co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in April 1999.

      It is estimated that more than ten percent of HIV infections worldwide, or nearly three and half million people, are due to injecting drug use. The Central Asian/Eastern European Region had the greatest percentage increase in HIV infections in the world in 1999.  Injecting drug use was identified as a leading cause of the increase according to newly released estimates by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization.

      The prevention of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS go hand in hand. If people have access to services, if they are informed and provided with the appropriate skills, they will resist drugs and resist engaging in risky behaviour,” said Pino Arlacchi, executive director of the Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), which is comprised of UNDCP and the Center for International Crime Prevention (CICP).
      UNDCP is devoting resources worldwide to warn people about the HIV/AIDS risks that come with drug abuse. This is particularly important for young people who constitute one- third of the 33 million people living with HIV infection.Young people are also those who are abusing drugs most often. UNDCP’s work in Brazil since 1994 includes community outreach projects, condom distribution, research on HIV and injecting drug use, and training of community volunteers. In Viet Nam, UNDCP continues to strengthen community-level outreach programmes among urban drug abusers who are at high risk of contracting HIV.

      The new UNDCP projects in Central Asia will assist the four governments in the planning, management, and policy development of their activities targeted to HIV/AIDS, drug abuse prevention and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

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