Health Official Says HIV is Soaring
June 18, 2001
The number of recorded HIV cases in Russia has doubled in the last five months, Russian Health Ministry officials announced at a conference last week in Poland. The totals reached 122,000 cases, with 63,000 cases occurring in this year alone, according to Irnia Kochkarova of the Health Ministry. She believes, however, that the official figures fall far short of the actual numbers of the infected. "The actual number of HIV-positive people is five to seven times higher," she said. Doctors Without Borders and the Russian non-governmental agency Fokus have organized a new anti-AIDS campaign in Russia that targets 20- to 29-year-olds, who, according to Fokus head Yevgenia Alexeyeva, make up 60 percent of HIV cases in Russia. Murray Feshbach, a specialist in Russian demographic trends, has estimated that 5 million to 10 million AIDS sufferers will die after 2015 in Russia. Much of Russia's epidemic comes from unsafe intravenous drug use and, according to an analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, is "growing exponentially." According to another specialist at the conference, Piotr Konczewski of the Warsaw-based Batory Foundation, said "The countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia are helpless against AIDS. Some governments pretend the problems does not exist; others just don't do anything about it." Officials blame the increase on the sudden opening of borders, the growth of organized crime and the collapse of communist rule a decade ago.Adapted from:
06.17.01; Emily Charnock
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.