Russia’s Registered HIV Cases Have Tripled Over Last Year
Russia has the fastest-growing rate of HIV infection in the world, and the epidemic is "rapidly getting out of control," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said on Friday, Agence France-Presse reports. In an interview with the Moscow Times English-language daily, Piot said, "Just look at the numbers -- new infections double each year" (Agence France-Presse, 4/12). According to the Associated Press, the number of registered HIV cases in Russia has tripled since last year to more than 250,000, but estimates place the actual number of people infected closer to one million. Although overall infections in Russia have risen, the rate of new cases in Moscow "appears to have slowed," with only 3,500 new cases recorded last year compared to previous annual increases of 10,000 cases. Russian officials released the figures at a conference on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency. Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the Russian Center for AIDS Prevention and Treatment, said that the decline in cases in Moscow was not due to any improvements made by the Russian health care system and warned that the "figures are down but the epidemic has not been stopped, it has just assumed a new shape." He added that "little work [against HIV/AIDS] is being done, due first of all to funding problems." Russia spent $4.3 million on HIV/AIDS last year and has earmarked $5.3 million for this year. Pokrovsky said that amount will only treat about 500 to 600 people and called for a "massive" infusion of funds that would increase HIV/AIDS funding in Russia to $75 million (Associated Press, 4/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.