"There are different people: they can get scared, they think that you can’t sit next to me. Recently, in the hospital, one nurse looked for veins from me to put a catheter, and the second made a remark to her: why, you say, you mess with him, he's speedy," – Egor repeats the word "speed" several times, as if trying to realize that this wording concerns him.

He learned about his diagnosis in 2016, when one of the HIV service programs carried out preventive measures among injecting drug users. Yegor began to notice that his health had seriously deteriorated: it became difficult to endure diseases, anemia intensified, and tuberculosis developed. Last year, he passed repeated tests and, seeing a positive result, decided to take up his health: quit drugs, alcohol and started taking pills.

“They explained to me that HIV exacerbates all illnesses, and then I realized that everything is serious. Now I regularly take drugs, don’t drink, don’t smoke, do not use drugs. The viral load [a measure of the severity of a viral infection] was initially half a million, and three months ago “A total of one and a half thousand [copies of HIV in one millimeter of blood]."

Now Yegor is quite knowledgeable about the virus, he tells in detail and shares his knowledge that they are not dying from HIV itself, but from the complications that other diseases cause due to the HIV load. For HIV-positive people, a common cold can turn into weeks of malaise. Therefore, it is very important not to interrupt antiretroviral therapy – take drugs on time.

Antiretroviral therapy is now available for free – this is a significant part of the cost of HIV services. If Egor had become a participant in the HIV prevention program at one time, the costs would have been significantly less – the cost-effectiveness of infection prevention has been proven by the figures:

In order to maintain the health of one patient with HIV infection, that is, to avoid one death from AIDS, it takes an average of 215 thousand soms per year, while the prevention of one case of HIV infection takes 11 times less – 19 thousand soms per year.

Most of the costs of HIV prevention programs are covered by international partners. At the same time, the main partner, the Global Fund, in 2023 completes financing of HIV / AIDS programs in the Kyrgyz Republic, which may lead to the suspension of most HIV / AIDS prevention programs due to a deficit in the state budget.

Despite the fact that every year the state allocates more and more funds to finance HIV / AIDS programs, the need for funds is also growing. For optimal financing, twice as much money is needed than is allocated from the state budget.

Experts are convinced that it is very important to maintain at least the current costs of HIV / AIDS support and prevention programs.

Thus, by 2030, 75 thousand Kyrgyz people can be saved from new HIV infections, and 25.1 thousand AIDS-related deaths can be avoided.

Non-profit organizations in Kyrgyzstan are working to advocate for increased government investment in HIV / AIDS programs within the framework of the coalition for budgetary advocacy for HIV and other socially significant diseases, which includes 23 organizations.

The coalition is actively working with government bodies and international organizations, as a result of which the government and several municipalities in the country have taken measures to overcome HIV infection – increased government funding for HIV prevention services, including as part of the implementation of state and municipal social orders. Services for key vulnerable groups are reflected in the developed socio-economic development programs and program budgets of the three cities, as well as in the program budget of the Ministry of Health.

"Different people perceive the disease in different ways. Some people load themselves with thoughts" the disease will kill me, "but if you treat it normally:" the disease is like a disease "and drink pills regularly, then you can live a normal life," concludes Yegor.

He is currently working, undergoing antiretroviral therapy and making plans for the future.

The publication was prepared as part of the Public Health Program of the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan.

The author of the material and infographic: Aizada Tom.

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