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A HIV/AIDS Awareness Program in Tajikistan

Tajikistan, September 3, 2003

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    Trainers at a summer camp discuss the HIV/AIDS educational materials they will be handing out to street children and other at-risk groups. Photo: Mercy Corps Tajikistan Photo:

Tajikistan is among the "second wave" countries, those who were shielded from HIV/AIDS for many years by geographic and political isolation.

In the past five years, the first HIV/AIDS cases appeared and there has been an alarming increase. As recently as 2001, a survey found that less than six percent of adults knew what HIV/AIDS is nor how to prevent it.

Mercy Corps is helping local organizations and the International Office of Migration conduct an awareness campaign. The campaign primarily targets those most as risk, which includes commercial sex workers and people who are migrating temporarily out of the country to seek work in Russia or other countries - approximately one million Tajiks have migrated, mostly young single men.

The goal of the program is to create an awareness that will help prevent a further increase in the rate of new HIV/AIDS cases.