Over the past decade, Azerbaijan has experienced a surge in the number of HIV/AIDS cases. According to government statistics, there are more than 1,000 HIV-positive people in Azerbaijan. The general lack of information and knowledge about HIV/AIDS is giving rise to the disease and destroying lives.
International Medical Corps was one of the first organizations to address the lack of HIV/AIDS education in Azerbaijan, and as part of a comprehensive prevention program, it developed an interactive CD-ROM that teaches people about HIV/AIDS and common sexually transmitted diseases. Users learn about transmission and prevention, symptoms, and where to seek appropriate care and treatment. The CD-ROM is available in Azeri, Russian, and English and provides pre- and post-test assessment to evaluate the user’s knowledge and identify areas for additional learning.
“Our goal is to educate and motivate people as well as mobilize them against HIV/AIDS,” said Mehrnaz Davoudi, International Medical Corps’ Senior Health Programs Manager. “We hope that the CD-ROM will contribute to HIV/AIDS prevention in Azerbaijan as well as help those who are infected.”
International Medical Corps distributed hundreds of CD-ROMs to more than 20 government agencies and NGOs coordinating HIV prevention measures throughout the country. NGOs will use them to educate and train various community members and those most at risk, including women and adolescents in prison, displaced people, students, sex workers and drug users. CD-ROMs were also distributed to the public on World AIDS Day on December 1.
“I am very thankful to International Medicla Corps for educating our community and association about HIV prevention,” said Nofar Sharifov, coordinator of Association to Fight with AIDS, one of 17 local NGOs that received the CD-ROMs. “International Medical Corps has empowered us to prevent and fight the virus in Azerbaijan. We will use this CD-ROM to work with HIV-infected people and help them learn to live with the virus. We will also continue our HIV prevention youth campaigns all over Azerbaijan.”
The Association to Fight with AIDS organized a play about alcohol and drug abuse on World AIDS Day. It also plans to use the CD ROMs for working with people who are HIV-positive.