Russia's Health Official Acknowledges Shortage in AIDS Medicine
July 12, 2006
At a news conference on Tuesday in Moscow, Russia's head epidemiologist said the nation faces a shortage in antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) due to bureaucratic mistakes, distribution problems, and a fast-paced epidemic. Onishchenko held the conference ahead of the G-8 meeting this week in St. Petersburg, where infectious diseases will be among the topics discussed.
"A problem in the sufficiency of antiretroviral drugs in Russia exists," said Gennady Onishchenko. "We know about this issue and are trying to regulate it, but I will say that it won't be solved right now."
Onishchenko's comments verified earlier claims AIDS advocates made regarding interrupted ARV deliveries across Russia.
"There is, let's say, a full range of treatments in Moscow, but they are lacking somewhere in Siberia," said Onishchenko, characterizing Russia's ARV distribution. Problems include "the inflexibility of distributors, an untimely order that was made, and even vulgar issues like an incorrectly calculated amount of necessary treatment," he said.
Though Onishchenko pledged to accelerate the public provision of ARVs to 15,000 patients, he warned that health authorities also have to contend with the rapidly growing number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS. The epidemiologist blamed disease stigma as partly responsible for HIV's spread among heterosexuals, especially young adults.
07.11.06; Anton Troianovski
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.