Drs. Elwin Wu and Assel Terlikbayeva Receive Funds from Republican AIDS Center in Kazakhstan to Develop and Pilot Method for Estimating MSM Population in Kazakhstan

October 17, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

September 26, 2011

Dr. Elwin Wu, associate professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) and affiliate of the Global Health Research Center in Central Asia (GHRCCA), has received funding from the Republican AIDS Center in Kazakhstan to conduct a new multidisciplinary population estimation study.

Dr. Wu will lead PRIME (Preliminary Research Investigation on MSM Estimation) to estimate the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kazakhstan. Population estimation methods—used in demography, sociology, and population biology – will all be incorporated to enable a comparison of results as well as relative scientific strengths and limitations of each approach to determine the probable size of what is a hidden population in Kazakhstan. To be implemented in four cities in Kazakhstan, the findings will be used by the Republican AIDS Center in the Kazakhstan Ministry of Health to inform and structure a larger, nation-wide effort to estimate the MSM population and ultimately to serve as the foundation for responsive service planning. Other members of the team are CUSSW alumnus Dr. Assel Terlikbayeva and Sholpan Primbetova (GHRCCA in Kazakhstan); Timothy Hunt (CUSSW); and Amulet, an Almaty-based local non-governmental organization.

Kazakhstan has experienced increased HIV transmission rates in recent years. There is concern and recent data indicating that MSM in Kazakhstan are not only at elevated risk for HIV transmission and infection, but they are also underserved and underrepresented within formal health and social services in Kazakhstan. A forthcoming report from a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University researchers in collaboration with GHRCCA and Amulet with 450 MSM indicates alarming rates of HIV.  Thus there is an urgent need to estimate the size of the MSM population and to identify venues to reach those most-at-risk.  Relative to other at-risk populations in Kazakhstan, there is a paucity of scientific data and research on MSM.

For more information, please contact Moya Thompson at mt2795@columbia.edu.

About GHRCCA (http://ghrcca.columbia.edu)

Established in 2007, the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA) is a multi-disciplinary research Center designed to develop and scale up sustainable solutions to address emerging health and social challenges in Central Asia and also in Mongolia. The Center’s work is focused in for core activity areas: Research, Education, Training, and Policy & Dissemination. Through multi-disciplinary partnerships at Columbia University, in the US and the Central Asia region, GHRCCA is conducting research, advancing solutions and developing scientific capacity and infrastructure in the US and Central Asia to address the health and social issues in the region.