Head of Russian AIDS Agency Criticizes Government for Allocating More Money to Global Fund Than to National HIV/AIDS Budget
Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Russian national AIDS center, on Thursday "attack[ed]" the Russian government for pledging three times the amount of money it has allocated to its domestic HIV/AIDS budget to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Agence France-Presse reports. "I see a serious contradiction in the fact that Russia is spending one-third of the money fighting HIV inside the country than it proposes to spend on helping other countries," he said. Russia has pledged $20 million to the Global Fund so far but will spend only $6 million on HIV/AIDS within the country this year. Deputy Health Minister Gennady Onishchenko did not address Pokrovsky's criticism directly, but "stressed" that the Russian donation will come in the form of equipment and medicines instead of monetary assistance. "We would like to make the contribution not by paying money, but for example by supplying test systems produced in Russia to [former Soviet nations] and by supplying medicines to African countries, which are much cheaper than those produced in the West," he said. An estimated one million Russians are HIV-positive, Pokrovsky said, noting that the figure is five times the number of official cases. Russia also has the fastest-growing HIV incidence in the world, averaging 1,000 to 2,000 new cases per week (Agence France-Presse, 7/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.