A new organization aimed at increasing HIV/AIDS education and awareness among Muslim leaders in Central Asia will be formed in Kyrgyzstan, Tilek Meymanaliyev, executive director of the Central Asia AIDS Control Project, said recently during a meeting in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe, the Times of Central Asia reports. The new center will be funded through a grant from the Regional AIDS Fund.
The meeting, organized by CAAP and the Tajik Ministry of Health, drew Muslim leaders from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as representatives from Islamic institutions, government agencies and the United Nations Development Program. The meeting aimed to encourage Muslim leaders to take an active role in HIV prevention efforts.
A separate seminar aimed at certifying 30 Muslim leaders as HIV/AIDS prevention trainers also was held in Dushanbe, according to the Times. Sayed Elzenary, a consultant to Muslim leaders on HIV/AIDS issues, said there has been increased interest among Muslim leaders in Central Asia in learning how to address HIV prevention among their congregations. He added that the HIV/AIDS community in the region is "hop[ing]" the increased interest leads to a "considerable decrease" in HIV prevalence in the region by 2015 (Levina, Times of Central Asia, 6/6).
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