Six more cases of HIV have been confirmed in the northern city of Pavlodar, bringing the total number of HIV-positive people in the town to 72, UNDP project coordinator for AIDS in Kazakhstan, Alexander Kossukhin, told IRIN on Thursday. News sources have reported a rise in infections in the city since May when an HIV-positive drug addict deliberately tried to spread the infection. To date, the government has acknowledged 1,275 cases of HIV infection, though UN sources told IRIN that the figure was “not less than 10,000.”
According to Kossukhin, the HIV epidemic in Russia has had an extensive affect on Kazakhstan, particularly in areas like Pavlodar near the border. “There is a direct linkage in this regard between Russia and Kazakhstan,” he said. Kossukhin said there had been few cases of sexual transmission of the disease, and “85 percent of all registered HIV cases have come from intravenous drug-users.” He said the government was assisting, “but unfortunately the main policy of the government is on testing rather than preventive activities among vulnerable groups within the population.” UN sources told IRIN that Kazakhstan’s worst hit city was the central city of Temirtau, with 892 cases of HIV infection.
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