According to new rules, Uzbek citizens wishing to travel abroad will have to produce certificates showing that they neither suffer from drug addiction nor a sexually transmitted disease at border control.
The head of the Tashkent STD health clinic, Shuhrat Berdiyev, said that the new rules were currently being discussed in the Senate and should be adopted in May or June 2013.
He said that in addition to passport and travel documents Uzbeks crossing the border would have to produce certificates stating that they neither have HIV or other STDs and that they were not registered as drug
|I believe the new measure was prompted by an increase in the number of HIV positive people in Uzbekistan and the need to limit their travel abroad"|
|Doctor Shuhrat Berdiyev|
"I believe the new measure was prompted by an increase in the number of HIV positive people in Uzbekistan and the need to limit their travel abroad," he said.
The doctor could not specify the number of HIV positive people in Uzbekistan, but he believed these figures could be obtained from the Health Ministry.
However, when asked by an Uznews.net correspondent, officials said that "this information is only for internal use".
According to official data, Uzbekistan had 10,015 people positive for HIV in January 2008 and 12,816 in January 2009.
This trend suggests there might be at least 15,000 people positive for HIV in the country now.
Human rights activists believe the new rules will become another means of applying pressure to Uzbek dissidents whom authorities have already denied exit visas to go abroad.
"This measure will become a new obstacle for dissidents and I am sure that it will be difficult to receive such certificates," said Angren-based activist Dmitriy Tikhonov who was refused an exit visa in the past.
Activists also believe that the rules will become a new pretext to demand bribes, as they will take a week to obtain, and many travellers will most likely fail to apply in adequate time before departure, so necessitating additional payment in order to get “the all clear”.