Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV in Kazakhstan has reached wide distribution

Сентябрь 08, 2023
Логотип ECOM для новостей
In six months, the number of people taking pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PrEP) in Kazakhstan has increased by 1000%. The country is showing impressive progress in introducing the latest method to prevent the spread of the disease among populations that are at high risk of infection.

“In November 2022, the number of people taking pre-exposure prophylaxis in Kazakhstan was about 200 people, but in six months, this number increased to 2000 people (June 2023)”, commented Nikolay Lunchenkov, infectious disease doctor, and LGBT Health Coordinator at the Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM). “It is important to note that without the widespread use of PrEP, it will not be possible to achieve the “95-95-95” targets set by the Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) for HIV testing, treatment and viral load suppression in people living with HIV.” 


What is the secret of Kazakhstan’s success? Nikolay Lunchenkov notes three key factors:
  1. It is critical that official government and non-profit health organizations work together to maximize access to PrEP in Kazakhstan.
  2. The pilot project "Almaty Model for Controlling the HIV Epidemic", supported by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, demonstrated a successful experience of partnership between government organizations and NGOs. This model of cooperation can be introduced and expanded within the country. 
  3. The third important point is that pre-exposure prophylaxis is fully funded by the state.

“Interaction between officials in the Ministry of Health and doctors and staff of non-profit and community organizations leads to the effective functioning of the program, which reaches an increasing number of people in need of such prevention. We at ECOM, realizing the importance of this tool in the fight against HIV, together with our partners, systematically conduct education and trainings on the use of PrEP. Last year, together with our partners, we created a resource center for pre-exposure prophylaxis in Central Asia, where people can share experiences and best practices and have access to a database of informational materials”, said Nikolay Lunchenkov.


ECOM, as part of technical support programs, conducted mutual visits between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to share experiences related to the implementation of PrEP. With the support of SoS_project 2.0, the Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity organized visits and meetings with government representatives to understand and meet the needs of non-profit organizations and the community. Such comprehensive cooperation with the involvement of the WHO allows for the effective development of pre-exposure prophylaxis in the region, and in Kazakhstan in particular.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (PrEP) is the latest method of preventing HIV infection, introduced in Kazakhstan in 2021. PrEP is given to people who do not have HIV, but who are at high risk of becoming infected.
The UNAIDS “95-95-95” targets are the updated strategy of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, which aims to achieve three targets by 2030 for the global community: 95% of people living with HIV know their status, 95% of those who know their status receive antiretroviral therapy, and 95% of those receiving therapy achieve an undetectable viral load.

You can find out more about successes and gaps in 6 countries of the EECA region: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine in relation to achieving the UNAIDS "95-95-95" targets in the latest Regional analysis of the cascade of HIV services for MSM from ECOM. 


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