There are 8,000 people living with HIV in Kyrgyzstan, with around 2,400 on treatment. New HIV infections here are increasing the quickest.

The problem

The Kyrgyz Republic’s prevalence rate is 0.2%. Although low compared to the global average, of an estimated 0.8%, it is among the countries where new HIV infections are increasing the quickest, and treatment availability is not keeping pace.

Until recently, Kyrgyzstan’s HIV treatment has been entirely financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. However, as the country’s income increased, heavy cuts in Global Fund funding followed, while treatment needs continued to rise. In order to maintain an effective HIV program the state must increase spending.

The background

Kyrgyzstan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has ratified the TRIPS agreement. In addition, Kyrgyzstan has also joined the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO), whose task is to grant Eurasian patents. This situation results in high prices and monopolistic practices and until recently, there were no national mechanisms in place to override these existing systems.

Civil society groups, including our partner the Harm Reduction Association Network, or ‘Partnership Network‘ as it is known in Kyrgyzstan, proposed new legislation to modernize the patent system in the country. The intention was to prohibit ‘evergreening’ and create stricter patentability criteria. Watch our short video to find out what ‘evergreening’ is.

Despite strong opposition from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and Kyrgyzstan’s State Service of Intellectual Property and Innovation, the president signed the new law in in April 2015. As a result new generic drugs are available to treat Hepatitis C.