Russian AIDS Official Asks Government to Match Domestic AIDS Funding with U.N. Fund Donation
Dr. Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Russian AIDS Research Center and the nation's top epidemiologist, said on Monday that the Russian government needs to allocate $20 million for the country's domestic fight against HIV/AIDS, matching the amount it pledged to the Global AIDS and Health Fund at the G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy, last week, the Moscow Times reports. "I'm glad that President Putin paid attention to the problems of AIDS. We're just waiting to get as much funds as the foreign countries," he said. According to Pokrovsky, the federal government this year set aside $5.17 million to fight the disease. Russia has 135,000 official cases of HIV, but Pokrovsky estimated that the actual number of cases may be around 1.3 million, nearly 10 times the official estimate. Arkadiuzc Maishich, a UNAIDS specialist in Moscow, said that the Russian epidemic could resemble Africa's in 10 years if "nothing is done" to contain the virus' spread. The epidemic in Russia is primarily linked to intravenous drug use rather than sexual contact, but U.N.-sponsored needle-exchange programs, which are "semi-legal" in Russia, have not been successful, Maishich said. An inter-ministerial committee to "coordinate" the national response to HIV/AIDS is being formed under Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko, he said. However, Pokrovsky "doubt[s]" the committee will accomplish anything because Matvienko does not have "power and money." A health ministry official said that some of the Russian donation to the international fund would be used on programs for Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (O'Flynn, Moscow Times, 7/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.