Global Fund, an international organization created
last year, has awarded a $3.2 million grant to
Armenia toward prevention of AIDS. (The full name
is Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria, but the grant to Armenia is specifically
If the project succeeds after the first two years,
the Fund will allocate another $4 million to continue
another three years.
Within the framework of the project special laboratories
will be prepared for voluntary blood tests of
residents of all regions of Armenia. New labs
will also be created for examination and treatment
of existing HIV/AIDS patients.
Prevention and education programs will be initiated
among young people and high-risk groups (drug
addicts, prostitutes and prisoners).
met to sign documents awarding a grant to
be used in AIDS prevention.
According to Samvel Grigoryan, director of the
National AIDS Prevention Center, HIV patients
in Armenia have no access to antivirus treatment
except Armenicum, the experimental drug in development
for the past five years by Armenian scientists.
"Many medicines used throughout the world
for treatment of HIV haven't been officially registered
in Armenia and that's the reason why they are
not available for patients," Grigoryan says.
The Ministry of Healthcare is working to have
such medicines registered. Part of the grant money,
Grigoryan says, will be spent to purchase such
drugs from abroad for use by Armenian patients.
Worldwide last year three million people died
of AIDS. About five million new cases were reported,
bringing the total HIV/AIDS sufferers to 42 million.
About 50 AIDS related deaths will occur while
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Until recently Armenia has been spared severe
spread of the disease. Today there are 234 registered
HIV carriers in the republic. The Prevention Center
calculates that the unofficial number is about
2,500. So far, 29 deaths from AIDS have been reported
Experts predict, however, that Armenia is a vulnerable
target. Growth in the outbreak of AIDS/HIV in
Russia rivals sub-Saharan Africa. And, as Russia
is the Number One destination of Armenian emigration
and return, specialists fear that it is only a
matter of time until Armenia inherits Russia's
Armenia's Global Fund grant will be coordinated
by a commission comprised by state, public and
international organizations. "World Vision
Armenia" has been chosen as the main recipient.
"Starting November we will be witnessing
activities concerning different strata of the
society," says national director of the World
Vision Armenia organization David Thomson. He
adds that some existing patients should start
to get help within this year.
"This is a five-year project and its effects
and influence will be noticed with time."
Global Fund supports 150 programs in 93 countries,
giving a total of $1.5 billion in aid.
"Different countries are in different situations
concerning this problem. Our goal is to fix this
problem in Armenia with this small sum,"
said Valery E. Chernyavskiy, Global Fund portfolio
Announcing the grant Chernyavskiy said: "It's
hard to be happy that the project is going to
be started because it is sad there is such a need
in Armenia. The task of Armenia is to spend this
amount as effectively as it is possible."