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MSF in Armenia, 2005
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Treating mental illness and HIV/AIDS
In Armenia, MSF is treating people with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS — all growing problems. Medical teams are also working to increase access to care for refugees now in the country and improve the quality of mental health care.
In the Shirak region of northwestern Armenia, an MSF team is working to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. Since the beginning of the project in March 2005, more than 300 patients have been treated by MSF staff in a clinic in the town of Giumri. MSF has also provided the town's blood transfusion center with diagnostic and laboratory material. The team also offers counseling, a confidential telephone line and individual and group education sessions. MSF trains local health staff on topics related to the clinic's work and provides monthly deliveries of drugs and laboratory and medical equipment. MSF has also opened primary health centers in poor, rural areas which offer free care.
In northeastern Armenia's Vanadzor city and its surroundings, MSF runs another HIV-prevention project. Safe sex practices are promoted among the general population and among at-risk groups such as commercial sex workers, truck drivers and adolescents. MSF is implementing the project with a national partner.
MSF provides outpatient psychiatric, psychological and social support to people with mental illness in eastern Armenia's Gegharkunik province. The priority is to improve the way mentally ill outpatients are cared for, reduce their hospitalization rate and minimize their social isolation. In 2004 MSF began working in the regions of Vardenis and Tshambarak, home to many Azerbaijani refugees who fled their country after the 1991-1994 war. MSF helps this population, which has little or no access to health care, by renovating existing health structures and providing equipment, material and medicines.
In the second half of 2005, MSF plans to open a project in the Malatia-Sebastia and Shengavit districts of Yerevan, the capital, to better detect, diagnose and treat people living with both non-resistant TB and harder- to-treat, drug-resistant strains of the disease.
MSF has worked in Armenia since 1988.