OPEC supports HIV/AIDS projects in Asia

Vienna, May 28 (IANS/WAM) The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has allocated about $6.85 million to tackle the spread of HIV/AIDS in Asia.

Three partner institutions will implement the projects in nearly a dozen Asian countries. OPEC is Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Director-general of OFID Suleiman J. Al-Herbish Thursday said: ‘Lack of awareness amongst the vulnerable groups in this pandemic has become a hindrance towards poverty eradication.’

The first grant of $3.5 million will help fund an OFID/WHO (World Health organization) project to prevent further transmission of HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Pakistan through improved quality-control mechanisms of testing donated blood.

To achieve this goal, the activities include restructuring of screening systems, upgrading laboratory facilities and implementation of quality blood screening laboratory systems.

The second grant of $3 million will finance Phase II of an initiative of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The initiative focuses on effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care amongst vulnerable groups in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

The project is aimed at six countries — Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The objective is to enhance primary health care services in penitentiary systems and improve law enforcement in partnership with health protection services.

The third grant of $350,000 will support the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna July 18-23. The conference is organised by the International AIDS Society (IAS).

The conference will emphasise continued commitment to the ending of the pandemic. The event is a global, biennial gathering of researchers, policy makers, sponsoring agencies and stakeholders who come together to strengthen commitment toward the elimination of HIV/AIDS.