Newsday Examines Destabilizing Effect of AIDS Epidemic in Russia
The Long Island Newsday on Saturday profiled the AIDS epidemic in Russia, which many officials fear could destabilize the nuclear-armed nation, "one that is reeling already from a post-Soviet health crisis and a declining population." One percent of Russians ages 15 to 49 are HIV-positive, but one estimate from the World Bank predicts that the percentage could rise to 6% by 2010, making Russia's AIDS epidemic one of the fastest growing in the world. The epidemic, which was originally "confined almost exclusively" to drug users, is increasingly spread through heterosexual sex, according to Newsday. While Russia's AIDS prevalence is just slightly higher than that of the United States and Europe, the Russian government will spend only $5 million on domestic AIDS programs this year, which is about the amount the United States spends on such programs every three hours (Pleven, Long Island Newsday, 6/8). Vadim Pokrovsky, head of Russia's Center for AIDS Prevention, in March called the government's funding levels "ridiculous" and said that a large infusion of foreign money would be needed in order to curb the spread of the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/20).
More information on HIV/AIDS in Russia is available online as part of kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on AIDS.