Number of HIV Cases in Russia Linked to Sexual Transmission Increasing, Cases Linked to Drug Use Decreasing, Report Says
The number of new HIV cases among injection drug users in Russia is declining, while the number of HIV cases linked to sexual transmission is rising, according to a report recently released by the Russian Health Ministry's AIDS Prevention and Treatment Center, Interfax News reports. The report says that approximately 280,000 HIV-positive people were living in Russia as of Jan. 1, 2004. According to statistics cited in the report, sexual transmission accounted for 19.4% of all HIV cases in Russia in 2003, compared with 13.4% in 2002 and 4.7% in 2001. Although the Russian government allocated more than $944,000 to programs to combat HIV/AIDS in 2003, a "large number" of the country's regions do not earmark funds for HIV/AIDS prevention programs in their local health care budgets, according to the report. The report says that a public HIV/AIDS prevention campaign is a "key" way to curb the spread of the disease; however, the report adds that this method is "not very popular" in Russia, according to Interfax News. In addition, the report says that high HIV/AIDS treatment costs, which range from $5,000 to $15,000 per person per year, are the "main social problem" in the fight against HIV/AIDS and make "medicines unavailable for most" HIV-positive Russians, Interfax News reports. Although the Russian government has allocated $3 million to purchase antiretroviral drugs, the funding only covers enough medication to treat "several hundred" patients, and fewer than 50% of HIV-positive people in Russia received treatment in 2003, according to the report. The report says that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has agreed to grant $80 million over the next five years to a consortium of six nongovernmental organizations active in Russia. However, the effects of the funding will not be seen for at least three years, according to the report (Interfax News, 4/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.