Russia Warns of AIDS Epidemic, 1.3 Million With HIV
May 16, 2007
On Tuesday, Russia's top AIDS expert warned its epidemic is quickly growing worse, and heterosexual transmission of HIV is becoming more common. While the country has registered 402,000 HIV cases, as many as 1.2 million to 1.3 million Russians are estimated to be infected, said Vadim Pokrovsky.
"Not only is the number of Russians infected with HIV rising, but there is an increase in the rate at which the epidemic is spreading," said Pokrovsky, head of the federal AIDS center. The number of registered cases is rising by 8-10 percent per year, he noted.
Infections are high among IV drug users, but many of the newly infected are heterosexuals who are not drug users, warned Pokrovsky. Of Russia's 39,589 newly registered HIV diagnoses last year, 44 percent were women. "On average for the country, one out of every fifty males is infected with HIV, but in some cities it is one in ten," Pokrovsky said.
The worst-affected area is St. Petersburg, followed by the Sverdlovsk region, greater Moscow, the Samara region and Moscow, said Pokrovsky. He noted a more accurate count would likely place Moscow higher in the list. A UN report on Tuesday noted HIV prevalence is concentrating in Russia's wealthier regions.
05.15.07; Guy Faulconbridge