H.E. Mrs. Aksoltan ATAEVA,
Head of Delegation of Turkmenistan

at the United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly to review and address the problem of human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in all its aspects

New York, 27 June 2001


Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General, Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me congratulate you, Mr. President, on the assumption of the post of the President of the special session and express my belief in the successful outcome of the session under your able leadership. I should like to express gratitude to Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan for his efforts in organizing this session and also to Ambassadors of Australia and Senegal which have rendered great assistance in the preparation of this session.

The problem of AIDS which was steadily growing in the last decades have touched upon almost all countries of the world and have become a global one. The world is concerned with the fastness of the spread of this virus, dangerousness of the illness, lack of effective enough cure. Especially worrisome is the fact that the disease has spread to the children having rendered this very vulnerable group of population the most wounded and helpless in the face of this catastrophe of the 21" century. The world leaders being concerned with the security of the people have taken upon themselves a commitment to stop its spread and do everything to reduce the scale of human immune deficiency virus. Irrespective of how many cases of this disease were found in each particular country, the danger of its spread presents the same threat to everyone since there is no absolute barrier against penetration of the disease into a country. Taking account of the current situation we support the call about the necessity to without delay join efforts of all countries in implementing a comprehensive prophylaxis of the disease and this work should be headed at the highest level.

Management at the global and national levels, mobilization of all means and their coordination in the fight against the epidemic is the only effective way and it should be supported with adequate financing. We realize serious socio-economic consequences of the spread of HIV/AIDS and fully support the initiative of the Secretary-General on creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

Mr. President,

Turkmenistan is in the group of countries with the low level of HIV/AIDS. In 1995 the State Program of the President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov "Health" was adopted. One of its priorities is to carry out steps in prevention of diseases as a complex of socio-economic and medical measures.

The AIDS problem that has one of priority places in the Program and is focused at prevention of disease that represents the risk group. Implementation of the strategy of the State Program of the President of Turkmenistan "Health" must ensure by the year 2008 95 % provision of the general public and risk groups with the information on HIV prevention.

In 1999 the Government of Turkmenistan has adopted a National program of AIDS prevention which envisages the following:

- definition of the national policy with regard to AIDS;

- prevention of HIV infection through blood;

- prevention of prenatal HIV infection;

- provision of all kinds of assistance and support to HIV/AIDS infected, and the member of their families.

In the framework of the joint project of the Government of Turkmenistan and UNAIDS Program on strengthening of the AIDS prevention strategy the following have become possible: national capacities have been multiplied through development, approval and implementation of the National program on AIDS prevention in Turkmenistan for 1999-2003; Interagency coordination committee is established; measures have been taken to shift the prevention activities from the center to the periphery. Integration of various state, civil an international organization have been increased with the view of combining efforts for practical realization of the AIDS prevention strategy in the country with the help of local professionals such as members of Parliament, jurists, journalists, doctors, civil society representatives and others.
Implementation of the project would reinforce national capacities in AIDS/STD/ drug addiction prevention in the country, improve access to medical and consulting services, assist in forming healthy life mode, motives, habits for safer behavior, especially among risk groups as well as developing close cooperation with the Youth Union of Turkmenistan and other public organizations. Project events would encompass all levels, including regional and rural and improve partnership between governmental, public and international organizations within the country.

The Ministry of healthcare and medical industry of Turkmenistan has developed a manual for organizing events on prevention of and fight against HIV/AIDS for medical and prevention centers. An information and communication network of the AIDS prevention service is established, training seminars for local, state, civil, media specialists as well as the youth have been organized. Teaching of the high school seniors on AIDS prevention/ sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)/ drug addiction and formation of the healthy way of life is being done with the help of those participants of the seminars who have been trained with the "equal-to-equal" method. Wide information campaign to raise public awareness is being carried out through mass media. Information material with the special fight against AIDS logos has been prepared for distribution among the population in Turkmen and Russian languages. There is a special column in the newspapers and magazines on AIDS prevention and healthy life style. A short film has been created on HIV/AIDS prevention in Turkmen, Russian and English languages promoting anonymous testing.

The main goal of all undertaken measures among people is to form a correct attitude among all layers of population on the various aspects of AIDS and STDs, a moral and sanitary culture, awareness of epidemic security in the medical facilities and people servicing sphere. AIDS prevention service in Turkmenistan is represented by 6 AIDS Prevention Centers. Cabinets for anonymous testing with "trust" phones are established and functioning. With the technical support of the UNAIDS program all center are equipped with the modern technical equipment.

In the framework of the general project and with the assistance of the WHO a project with the young women of the "risk group" is being carried out, the main purpose of which is to lower the growth of STDs/drug abuse and prevention of HIV spread among young women The project is aimed at widening of knowledge and cognizance, changing to safe behavior, propagandizing of means of prevention and searching for the accessible and qualitative medical assistance for those who contracted STDs.
To cover all layers of people a successful information campaign among the long haul drivers on HIV/AIDS problem is being carried out. "The HIV/AIDS/ drug abuse prevention in the prisons" project is being implemented since 2000. Control over safety of blood transfusion is being carried out more thoroughly.

It is the laborious explanatory work among all layers of population that have helped to realize the danger of infection by the AIDS and achieve a breakthrough in the views on the previously forbidden aspects of the sexual sphere. The achieved realization have allowed to carry out preventive measures which in the first place are based on the personal prevention and responsibility oa a person before the family and society.

Thus, the multifaceted prevention of HIV/AIDS program being carried out in the country gives real positive results in preserving the current epidemic situation at the low level, however, we understand that quickly spreading drug abuse could seriously influence the spread of AIDS disease in the country and the region and we count on practical assistance of the UN in this aspect.

Underlining responsibility of governments, importance of mobilizing forces and combining efforts for joint actions against this catastrophe of the humankind we also attribute to the UN and all its agencies a leading role in coordinating, providing up-to-date methodological assistance in introduction of new ways of prevention and cure as well as attracting financial resources for these goals. This would play a decisive role in generating a global reaction to the anguish of the century.