Estonia, Russia, Ukraine Have Highest Growth Rates for New HIV Cases in Eastern Europe, CIS, UNDP Report on AIDS Says
February 18, 2004
Estonia, Russia and Ukraine are facing increasing growth rates in new HIV infections that are among the highest in the world, according to a new report released Tuesday by the United Nations Development Programme, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Ingram, AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/18). The report, titled "Reversing the Epidemic: Facts and Policy Options," examines the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 28 countries that compose Eastern Europe, the Baltics and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The report offers country HIV/AIDS profiles, including information on high-risk groups (UNDP bulletin, 2/17). According to the 117-page report, one out of every 100 adults in a city in Eastern Europe or the CIS is HIV-positive (AFP/Yahoo! News, 2/17). Currently, Russia has 257,000 reported HIV cases, although Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Russian Health Ministry's AIDS Prevention and Treatment Center, has said that the actual number could be between 700,000 and 1.5 million. Ukraine has recorded 68,000 HIV cases, but officials estimate that the number could be 500,000, and Estonia has registered 3,621 HIV-positive people. However, Estonian Social Welfare Ministry spokesperson Katrin Pargmae said that unofficial estimates are almost double the reported figure (AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/18). The report says that economic growth for each of the countries in the region soon could be reduced by 1% of gross domestic production, which would be a "tremendous impact for any country" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 2/17). In addition, the epidemic has increased the countries' health spending from 1% to 3% of their gross domestic products (AP/Contra Costa Times, 2/18).
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