Russia: $2.5 Million Pilot Program Set Up in AIDS Fight
December 10, 2002
A comprehensive, two-year program to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and STDs among young adults in the Altai and Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) regions started Monday. The $2.5 million program is intended to serve as a national model for dealing with the AIDS epidemic.
"The HIV epidemic had a late start here," UN Resident Coordinator Frederick Lyons said Monday at a news conference. "It's catching up with merciless speed, and Russia is in the region that has had the highest rates of growth in the world in the last couple of years." More than 80 percent of registered HIV cases -- 220,545 as of last month -- are people under age 30, and more than 20 percent are teenagers, Lyons said. However, because the epidemic is concentrated in distinct high-risk groups -- intravenous drug users and sex workers -- targeted campaigns could make a large impact, he said.
The project is being jointly funded by Britain's Department of International Development and the UN Foundation. It will involve six UN agencies, the US Agency for International Development, the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation) and federal and regional ministries. Tatyana Shoumilina, program coordinator for UNAIDS in Moscow, said the two regions were selected from 17 with which UNAIDS has worked since 1999 to develop a strategic plan to counter the disease.
The Volgograd and Altai regions were chosen for the commitment shown by the regions' nongovernmental groups and administrators and for their collaboration with each other, as well as for the number of UN agencies already operating there. The two regions also complement each other; Siberia's Altai region is agricultural, while Southern Russia's Volgograd is industrial, Shoumilina said. According to federal statistics, registered HIV cases in the Volgograd region rose from 1,605 at the end of last year to 3,047 by Oct. 28. In Altai, HIV cases rose from 2,154 to 2,612.
St. Petersburg Times (Russia)
12.03.02; Robin Munro
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.