In-depth

Yougn people sitting in circle around a large piece of paper on which a girl is writting
Learning together on HIV prevention

According to the 2012 UNAIDS Report, the number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia reached an estimated total of 1.4 million in 2011 compared with 970,000 in 2001. 

AIDS-related deaths continue to rise in the region with an estimated 92,000 AIDS-related deaths in 2011 compared with 76,000 in 2005.

The HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are typically driven by unsafe drug injection and by onward transmission to sexual partners of people who inject drugs. 

Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is also a significant health issue, with approximately 81,000 people in the region with drug-resistant TB (World Health Organization). Most do not receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Malaria is also a health issue that affects countries in Central Asia. 

The HIV epidemic and other neglected diseases disproportionately affect people living in poverty as well as socially marginalized groups in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Poverty, gender inequality and other social factors can exacerbate the spread of disease; and many countries struggle with the complexities of coordinating nationally-led responses that include participation of stakeholders.

What we do

A female doctor is doing a blood test to a little girl

UNDP work on HIV and health focuses on: addressing human rights and laws, women and girls, and at risk populations such as injecting drug users, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and migrants. This includes:

  • Protecting and promoting the rights of people living with HIV and at risk populations (including injecting drug users, men who have sex with men, and sex workers) through stronger laws and better implementation of laws
  • Supporting countries to implement programmes on HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  • Improving HIV and health outcomes through action on gender inequality and gender-based violence
  • Supporting national partners to use the flexibility in intellectual property rights law to lower the cost of HIV drugs and diagnostics
  • Promoting multi sectoral AIDS planning, addressing the socio economic determinants of HIV, advancing social protection, and ensuring sustainable financing for treatment
  • Greening health systems, especially related to Global Fund procurement and supply management

Some results so far

The law on HIV-related travel in Moldova has been amended, helping to increase the quality of life for people living with HIV, following a regional consultation of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, which assessed the effects of punitive and discriminatory laws on the HIV epidemic.

The Eurasian Coalition on Male Health was established, to coordinate and advocate HIV prevention, treatment and care among men who have sex with men in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and UNDP supported women and girls living with HIV in the region to engage in national and global dialogue on HIV (networks for women living with HIV now have networks in Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation).

Local authorities in the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan assessed their abilities to contribute to achieving Universal Access targets; and partners in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are revisiting legislation to make use of flexibility in intellectual property rights law to lower the cost of HIV drugs and diagnostics.

UNDP is implementing Global Fund grants on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria on behalf of seven countries (Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) with a portfolio of $50 million per year. Part of this work includes building the capacities of national partners to take over this responsibility.