Assel TerlikbayevaSince 2007, I have been the Regional Director of the Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA) in Kazakhstan. My research interests have focused on behavioral interventions related to HIV, TB, STIs, substance use and mental health in Central Asia (see papers below). As Regional Director of GHRCCA, in addition to research, I also mentor junior investigators to increase the number of scientists in the region.

GHRCCA (with offices in New York City and Almaty, Kazakhstan) is currently implementing a project linking people who inject drugs to HIV care at AIDS Centers in Almaty, Temirtau, Karaganda, and Shymkent. We are also conducting a study examining the efficacy of a combined HIV and microfinance intervention to reduce sexually transmitted infections and sexual and drug risk behaviors among women who have injected drugs and who are involved in sex trading. In addition, we are conducting two studies aiming to increase testing for HIV and linkage to care among MSM using social media and digital technologies. One of two studies funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, will be introducing and pilot-testing innovative self-testing approaches among MSM in Kazakhstan.

In previous years, GHRCCA has completed several NIH-funded grants focused on HIV among injection drug users and migrants, as well as at least two studies focused on TB/MDR TB in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries, such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, including assessing the prevalence of TB among migrants coming to Kazakhstan from these countries.

Over the past 10 years, I have implemented substance use, TB and HIV/STI prevention and intervention studies in Kazakhstan and created strong community partnerships, established close cooperation with governmental agencies, and trained and supervised local research teams in recruitment and retention of research participants.