St. Petersburg Times Examines National Campaign to Confront HIV/AIDS Stigma in Russia
February 9, 2006
Russia's St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday examined the "Stay Human" campaign, a nationwide media effort in Russia focusing on fighting HIV/AIDS stigma, organized by the Moscow-based Focus-Media Foundation, the Russian Coordination Council for HIV-Positive People, the St. Petersburg Humanitarian Foundation Delo and several other foundations. The three-month campaign, which will use advertisements to spread its message across the country, uses the motto, "HIV isn't transmitted via friendship," the Times reports. According to the Federal Service for the Supervision of Consumer Rights and Human Welfare, the number of HIV infections in Russia has nearly doubled in the past five years, from 121 per 100,000 people in 2001 to 231 per 100,000 by the end of 2005. Yevgenia Alexeyeva, director of Focus-Media Foundation, said she was "stunned" by the widespread misconceptions about HIV/AIDS among people in Russia. According to research conducted in 10 regions of Russia by the foundation prior to the campaign, 70% of people believe that HIV can be transmitted through mosquito bites, 56% of respondents believe that HIV can be acquired by kissing an HIV-positive person, 40% believe HIV can be transmitted by coughing and sneezing, and more than 50% of respondents said it is possible to acquire HIV by sharing an office or workplace with an HIV-positive person, the Times reports.
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