Number of New HIV Cases in Rural Russian Province Increases, Similar to Country’s Urban Areas
The number of newly reported HIV cases in Russia is increasing rapidly in urban areas, and similar increases also might be occurring in rural areas, according to a report in the July 18 issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Reuters Health reports (Rauscher, Reuters Health, 7/17). Researchers from the AIDS and Infectious Diseases Prevention Center in Orel Oblast province, Russia, and the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention analyzed HIV trend data from the predominantly rural, agricultural province, which has a population of about 900,000. Researchers recorded the results of all HIV tests conducted between 1987 and 2001, with an annual range of between 140,000 and 170,000 tests. Voluntary testing was offered to patients at drug-treatment, sexually transmitted disease, tuberculosis and prenatal clinics; HIV testing was mandatory for prisoners. AIDS Center researchers collected clinical, HIV-risk and contact histories for HIV-positive residents of Orel Oblast and offered HIV testing to recent sex and injection-drug using contacts of HIV-positive residents (Molotilov et al., MMWR, 7/18). Researchers found that the province has seen a 40-fold rise in HIV incidence between 1998 and 2001. In addition, the annual rate of new positive HIV tests increased from five per 100,000 tests in 1998 to 202 per 100,000 in 2001, while HIV testing patterns during this time remained stable, Reuters Health reports. Dr. Shannon Hader, CDC epidemiologist and co-author of the report, said, "I must say this is what we have seen in other places of a really rapid initial increase in HIV." She added, "Because Orel was doing good monitoring and good surveillance for HIV they were able to identify this initial rapid increase in cases, and perhaps with good prevention activities catastrophe can be avoided" (Reuters Health, 7/17).
More information on AIDS in Russia is available online through kaisernetwork.org's Issue Spotlight on AIDS.