Ignorance Leading to Rise in AIDS in Eastern Europe
Commenting on the recently released UNAIDS report on the AIDS epidemic worldwide (see story #1), the Washington Post writes in an editorial that the potential for the spread of AIDS in Russia and Eastern Europe is the "newest source of worry." While current actual infection rates are relatively low -- 0.2% in Russia and 1% in Ukraine -- they "won't stay low unless something is done soon to stop the accelerating epidemic." The editorial cites one estimate that Russia could have a 3% infection rate in four years "unless it makes prevention a top priority." According to the editorial, the population most likely to spread the disease is intravenous drug users, who constitute 90% of new infections. Yet this group "attracts little sympathy from the rest of the population ... and people take refuge in the fiction that the epidemic won't jump from drug users to society at large." While Russia, Ukraine and many neighboring countries have discussed loans from the World Bank to fight the spread of the disease, funding for prevention effort and government response are lacking across the region. The editorial cites aThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.