22 Jan 2016

HIV infections in Russia have reached record levels, with the number of people registered as HIV-positive passing the one million mark.

HIV infections in Russia have reached record levels, with the number of people registered as HIV-positive passing the one million mark.
And Russia’s AIDS centre boss Vadim Pokrovsky said the epidemic is getting stronger, with the country on the tipping point of infections becoming a generalised epidemic.
Currently HIV is mainly restricted to one subgroup of the population, but Pokrovsky fears HIV rates will soon reach a level that it will quickly spread through the rest of the population.
In some regions, it has already become a generalised epidemic with 50 to 60 per cent of cases linked to drug use and 40 per cent to heterosexual sex. Homosexual intercourse was responsible for only 1.5 per cent.
“We’re in a transitional stage,” Pokrovsky told Reuters.
He believes the true number of HIV-positive Russians might be closer to the 1.5 million mark — about one per cent of the population. 
204,000 people have died of HIV-related complications in Russia since 1987.
Twenty-four thousand HIV-positive people died in Russia in 2014 — around 12,000 of those as a direct result of AIDS, Pokrovsky estimated.
Pokrovsky expected 2015 data to show a five to 10 per cent increase in deaths, and the number of new cases to rise from 90,000 in 2014 to 93,000 in 2015.
The epidemic comes as Russia struggles with a failing economy, spurred by low oil prices and sanctions.
Russia plans to spend 40 billion roubles ($AUD695 million) on combating the epidemic in 2016, but Pokrovsky said they need to spend 100 billion roubles ($AUD1.7 billion) was required.
The World Health Organisation estimates 36.9 million people were living with HIV or AIDS at the end of 2014. 2.6 million of that figure were children.

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