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Ensuring Migrants Have Access To HIV, TB Treatment Critical To Reversing Epidemics In Eastern Europe, Central Asia

Huffington Post: The Shifting Diplomacy around Migration, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis in Central Asia
Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

“…To reverse the rising HIV and [multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)] epidemics, the [Eastern Europe and Central Asia] region will need to move forward on a number of fronts: Firstly, there must be a halt to the deportation of migrants based on health status in the countries where it is still in practice. Currently, in too many instances in the region, a diagnosis of TB, MDR-TB, or HIV means deportation, a practice that is widely known to be ineffective to public health, violate human rights, and may lead to drug-resistant forms of infection. Secondly, the region needs to ensure migrants have access to HIV services, including ART, and to full course TB/MDR-TB treatment in the host country. It will be vital that a funding mechanism be established to cover HIV and TB treatment costs for migrants who choose to stay in the host country to be treated. Lastly, national and regional responses around infectious diseases like HIV and TB urgently need to be reviewed to include migrants as a vulnerable group. It is no exaggeration to say that unless we see collective movement around the above fronts, all the ingredients of a brewing regional public health crisis will continue to bubble away” (3/23).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.