A campaign to support children and families affected by HIV in Kyrgyzstan was launched in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on 1 June, the International Day for Protection of Children.
A key part of the campaign is responding to the stigma and discrimination often faced by people living with HIV, especially children and families. Despite national HIV awareness programmes in Kyrgyzstan and legislation protecting the rights of people living with HIV in the country, many live in fear, hiding their HIV status even from their relatives.
During the development of the campaign, artists met with teenagers and families who are affected by HIV-related discrimination. The artists, including the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Vera Brezhneva, and popular Kyrgyz singers Abir Kasenov, Arsen, Aiganysh Abdiyeva, Bayastan, Erkin Ryskulbekov and Ayim Aylchieva, voiced the thoughts and words of those children in a moving video, which has been promoted through social media networks and broadcast on national television.
“THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH CAN’T RESPOND TO THE EPIDEMIC WITHOUT THE ACTIVE INVOLVEMENT OF EVERYONE. THE GOVERNMENT AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS DO A LOT TO INFORM PEOPLE, BUT WE NEED CELEBRITIES TO HELP US CHANGE ATTITUDES TOWARDS PEOPLE AFFECTED BY HIV.”
“DISCRIMINATION NOT ONLY AFFECTS THE LIVES OF PEOPLE. DISCRIMINATION CREATES OBSTACLES FOR SOCIETY TO EFFECTIVELY RESPOND TO THE EPIDEMIC: PEOPLE WHO NEED SERVICES ARE SIMPLY AFRAID TO SEEK THEM.”
“UNAIDS WELCOMES YOUNG AND WELL-KNOWN KYRGYZ STARS, TELEVISION PERSONALITIES AND JOURNALISTS WHO HAVE JOINED THE CAMPAIGN AND ARE ACTIVELY PROMOTING ISSUES RELATED TO THE ERADICATION OF STIGMA AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV.”