World Bank President Urges Russia to Make a ‘Serious’ Effort to Halt HIV/AIDS and TBWorld Bank President James Wolfensohn is calling on the Russian government to "use its rebounding economy to combat the spread" of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in the country, AP/Newsday reports. Wolfensohn said Friday that Russia's strong international reserves, economic growth and high commodity prices have helped boost the country's finances, thus allowing the government to spend more on fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB. Calling AIDS and TB the "most critical issues that Russia needs to face," Wolfensohn stated that the country "must start seriously tackling" the two diseases. The World Bank has offered Russia a $150 million loan to fund treatment and prevention programs, although details of the plan are still being worked out with the Russian Health Ministry. Wolfensohn said, "I don't much care whether they take our money or somebody else's, or whether they use our suggestion or someone else's. My only concern is that action is taken, and I will make a nuisance of myself until that happens." The number of registered HIV cases in Russia totaled 105,000 earlier this year, but health experts say that the actual number is "several times higher than the official figure" (Dolgov, AP/Newsday, 7/15).
Russian and American Physicians Discuss HIV/AIDS
Russian doctors last week met with physicians and staff from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to "exchange ideas for treatments and education" concerning HIV/AIDS, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reports. Tatyana Melnikova, chief physician in the Vologda Regional Center for AIDS prevention and treatment, said, "We use the same medicines and many of the same approaches, but we need to continue to work together." The physicians from the two countries also met with representatives from public and private organizations to "learn about each group's role in fighting HIV" (Kucharski, Cedar Rapids Gazette, 7/13).