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Oleg's story: spreading the word about HIV

Man standing in front of some shrubbery

Oleg Kadyrov always makes an extra effort when he’s at work – while he’s out on his day job installing satellite dishes, Oleg also distributes leaflets about on HIV and drug addiction.

“Most people have heard about HIV from Russian satellite TV channels,“ says Oleg, 39, from Abadan near Ashgabat. “But they pay much more attention to the Red Crescent’s leaflets.”

Oleg first heard about the Turkmemistan Red Crescent's HIV programme from one of his colleagues, a former drug user.

“We have a lot of drug addicts, so I decided to use my job as a way to spread information about drug abuse,” he says. ”The majority of HIV transmissions come from injecting drugs.”

Understanding the risks

The British Red Cross and the Turkmenistan Red Crescent have worked together on HIV prevention issues since 2002. The Red Crescent has made a big impact on the HIV awareness levels of all parts of Turkmen society, from senior government officials to sex workers and drug users.

The hardest part of the job is to getting people to listen, Oleg says. “At first people don’t pay much attention, but they listen up once they realise how important it is. If just one out of ten people understands the risks of drug use and how to avoid HIV, then that’s a great achievement for me.”

What motivates Oleg to volunteer? “The more healthy people there are, the healthier the country will be,” he says. “The less disease that is around, the less risk there is for everyone.”

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Turkmenistan HIV stories