Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report in Kazakhstan in August and September 2002 and subsequently by telephone and electronic mail from New York and Moscow. In Kazakhstan, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed approximately eighty injection drug users, sex workers, and persons living with AIDS in Almaty, Shymkent, Karaganda, Temirtau, and Pavlodar.5 Interviews were also conducted throughout the country with thirty-one government officials in AIDS centers, narcological centers, skin and venereal hospitals, prisons and prison hospitals; one senior police officer and two lawyers; and staff of seventeen local NGOs. Human Rights Watch met with staff of three international organizations in Almaty, among them UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), and seven international NGOs in Almaty, Shymkent and Pavlodar, all of whom were working on HIV/AIDS. Interviews were generally open-ended and covered many topics.
Human Rights Watch in addition attended various fora in Kazakhstan including a press conference on HIV/AIDS in Almaty and staff meetings of a harm reduction NGO in Pavlodar and of medical personnel at a prison tuberculosis hospital in Karaganda province.
Interviews with thirty-eight injection drug users, thirty-three sex workers, twenty-one persons living with AIDS and seven relatives of these were conducted in public sites (including on the street), private residences, government-run AIDS centers, prisons, prison hospitals, and narcological centers. The identities of some interviewees have been withheld for their protection and at their request. Almost all interviews were carried out on an individual basis with only a few group interviews.
The majority of interviews were conducted in Russian; a few were in English. One or two Human Rights Watch staff members conducted the interviews. Human Rights Watch also gathered in Kazakhstan unpublished and published local government and non-governmental documents on HIV/AIDS, and other published and World Wide Web-posted information from a wide range of sources.
5 Despite repeated attempts, Human Rights Watch was unsuccessful in gaining interviews with men who have sex with men, aside from two leaders of NGOs working with this population. Other men who have sex with men we located declined interviews for fear of reprisal or disclosure.