Russian President Putin Calls for Increased HIV/AIDS Awareness; Russia to Spend $175 Million on HIV/AIDS Programs This Year
April 25, 2006
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday asked officials to increase HIV/AIDS awareness in the country as the government announced it will allocate $175 million this year for HIV/AIDS programs, Reuters reports. Although official figures place the number of HIV-positive Russians at more than 342,000, some "experts think it is much higher," Putin said, adding that most infections are in people under age 30. "We need to constantly explain to people the danger and high risk of catching HIV," Putin said, adding, "Above all, it is important to work with high-risk groups. So far we do not have a common strategy [for] this." Putin said that he will make HIV/AIDS a priority during a meeting of leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations scheduled to be held in Russia later this year (Bullough, Reuters, 4/21). The $175 million in HIV/AIDS funding is a more than 30-fold increase over last year's allocation, and the government plans to increase the amount to about $284.9 million next year (Smith, Globe and Mail, 4/24).
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