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Russian Government Shows "Indifference" to HIV, AIDS Research Center Head Says, Al Jazeera Reports

January 4, 2013

On average, 200 people are diagnosed with HIV every day in Russia, Al Jazeera reports. "Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of Russia's AIDS research center, has said that instead of recognizing a crisis -- the government is indifferent to the problem," the news service writes, adding, "'If we had 200 cases of diarrhea at a children's pioneer camp, the country's head sanitation doctor would fly out immediately to save them,' Pokrovsky said." Pokrovsky continued, "It would be frightening. Governors would run, helicopters would fly, the police would search for the source of infection, prosecutors would get to work. But here we are seeing that there is complete indifference to this situation," according to the news service.

"While the government provides free medicine, agencies like the U.N. believe fewer than half of people eligible for [HIV] treatment are getting it," Al Jazeera's Robin Forestier-Walker reports in an accompanying video, noting, "Some choose not to take medication, others lack access or support." Over 40 percent of new infections are women, according to Forestier-Walker, who adds, "What it shows is that far from being confined to certain groups, HIV will continue to spread with this infection rate into the general population" (1/3).

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