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UNHCR's new HIV/AIDS awareness project for conflict-affected populations in Nepal

UNHCR's new HIV/AIDS awareness project for conflict-affected populations in Nepal

16 October 2007

KATHMANDU, 16 October - UNHCR has started a new project for strengthening HIV and AIDS services among the conflict-affected populations in Nepal with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID), channelled through UNAIDS. This six months project will be implemented by the General Welfare Pratisthan (GWP), Knight Chess Club (KCC), and Maiti Nepal in six districts - Ilam and Panchthar in the eastern region, and Dang, Jumla, Banke and Jajarkot in the mid-western region.

"This new programme is a result of a joint UN assessment undertaken in November 2006 in Banke, Ilam and Kathmandu, and I am confident that together with these NGO partners, we can better respond with respect to the protection and prevention of HIV/AIDS," said Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, UNHCR Representative in Nepal.

The assessment which sought to identify measures to prevent and respond to HIV/AIDS among conflict-affected populations revealed that there is a pressing need for better coverage of HIV prevention activities in at-risk populations, regardless of any link during the conflict or the now post conflict situation.

Expressing his gratitude, Abraham adds, "I am extremely grateful to DFID and UNAIDS for the contribution to such an important priority area for UNHCR."

GWP will be working towards HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programme for Female Sex Workers and Hoteliers in Banke district, KCC will be working for the Injecting Drug Users and establish two Drop-In-Centres and one Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCT) in Ilam district, and Maiti Nepal will run HIV/AIDS awareness programmes in Dang, Jumla, Jajarkot, Ilam and Panchthar districts.

The UN refugee agency will coordinate this project in collaboration with UNFPA, UNDP/UNODC and the National Centre for AIDS and STI Control. In addition, the UN refugee agency is starting its HIV/AIDS prevention project through Condom promotion among the conflict affected population groups in 15 districts in Nepal. This project will be implemented by GWP in Mugu, Jumla, Dailekh, Jajarkot, Rukum, Surkhet, Bardiya and Dang, and by KCC in Panchthar, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Dhankuta, Terathum, Udayapur and Solukhumbu.

HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness activities have always been an integral part of UNHCR's programme in the refugee camps in Jhapa and Morang districts in eastern Nepal.

In July 2005, UNAIDS defined seventeen technical support areas and their respective lead organisations and main partners. The UNAIDS Secretariat was identified as the lead organization for uniformed services and humanitarian emergencies and UNHCR was identified as the lead organisation for HIV and displaced persons, including both refugees and IDPs.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

UNHCR Kathmandu, Nepal