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"Kazakhstan 2030," a ubiquitous logo on display on buildings and billboards across the country, is the president's strategic plan for development through the year 2030. The overarching goal of the plan is ostensibly to improve the health, education, and well-being of all citizens. "Kazakhstan 2030" also aims to ensure that,

[c]itizens living in the year 2030 would be sure that the state would protect their rights and uphold their interests. More than that: they would know that the state would take care of the few who-by virtue of some unfavourable circumstances-failed to win a proper place in the sun and had to appeal to the state for social aid.305

A central element of the plan is to increase the current population of close to 15 million to 25 million by 2030.

The government of Kazakhstan has taken many positive steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS, among them the decision to rescind the policy of mandatory HIV testing, the initiation of a discussion on the "humanization" of drug laws, and pledging the establishment of pilot methadone substitution therapy programs. If the measures promised by these first steps are implemented with urgency, the government will greatly increase its chances of halting the AIDS epidemic in its borders. But these positive steps are marred by a wide range of human rights abuses against persons vulnerable to and those already living with AIDS, abuses which discourage and sometimes prevent these persons from gaining access to life-saving treatment. These abuses only serve to fuel the epidemic.

So far, in the course of this epidemic, there has been a tendency to single out and blame the vulnerable-those who remain in the shadows, outside of the reach of the Kazakh sun. More often than not, persons living with and vulnerable to AIDS experience abuse and discrimination at the hands of the state, rather than being able to enjoy their right to protect themselves from a lethal disease and lead lives of dignity. Were Kazakhstan to restore dignity and the protection of human rights to those affected by the disease, it could indeed provide other countries in the former Soviet Union and beyond with a model for fighting HIV/AIDS.

305 "Message of the President of the Country to the People of Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan-2030," [online], (retrieved January 27, 2003).

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