Head of Russia’s HIV/AIDS Agency Calls Current Level of Government Funding for HIV/AIDS Prevention ‘Ridiculous’
Vadim Pokrovsky, head of Russia's Center for AIDS Prevention, on Tuesday said that the country's small amount of government financing for HIV/AIDS prevention is "ridiculous" and that a "huge infusion" of funding is necessary to curb the spread of the disease in the country, the New York Times reports. He told the Interfax News Agency that the government has budgeted $800,000 for 2003, enough funds to treat 1,000 people, according to the Times (Kishkovsky, New York Times, 3/19). Nearly 232,258 HIV cases have been officially registered with the government, but Pokrovsky said the actual number is "closer to one million," according to Agence France-Presse. He also said that in several of the country's larger cities, including Moscow and St. Petersburg, the HIV prevalence is 1% of the population. "These levels are higher than in both the United States and Europe -- we overtook them long ago and are now catching up with Africa," Pokrovsky said. He added that "[m]ost victims of the disease will be young people" and although "we cannot cure them of this disease ... we can help extend their lives for years" if funding for HIV/AIDS programs is increased (Agence France-Presse, 3/18). More information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is available online as part of kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on HIV/AIDS.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.