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Ignorance Seen Fueling Rapid Spread Of AIDS In Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz university students hold banners with red ribbons, symbolizing AIDS awareness, in Bishkek. UN studies reveal that 70 percent of young people in Kyrgyzstan have little or no knowledge of HIV.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan is among the 25 countries worldwide where HIV/AIDS is spreading most rapidly, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

UN Development Program representative Larisa Bashmakova told journalists in Bishkek today that the problem derives primarily from the very low level of awareness about the disease among young people in Kyrgyzstan.

Studies conducted by UN experts revealed that 70 percent of young people in Kyrgyzstan either do not know anything about AIDS or have only a rudimentary knowledge.

According to official statistics, there are currently 3,609 registered patients in Kyrgyzstan who either suffer from AIDS or are HIV-positive. Eighty percent of them are between 20 and 30 years of age.

Most patients are residents of the northern Chui district near Bishkek, or the southern regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad.

Read more in Kyrgyz here