Russian NGOs Hold Rally To Demand Free Antiretroviral Treatment for HIV-Positive People
Several dozen people, most of whom work for nongovernmental organizations, on Tuesday held a rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, to demand that the Russian government provide antiretroviral treatment at no cost for HIV-positive people in the country, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/9). Before 1999, Russia had only a few thousand registered HIV-positive residents, but the nation currently has more than 280,000 registered cases. United Nations and Russian officials estimate that about one million HIV-positive people live in Russia. Despite the recent increase in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases, the Russian government spends less than $1 million annually on HIV/AIDS prevention programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/2). The protestors in St. Petersburg laid out four coffins in front of the city's municipal administration building and shouted, "Our death is your shame," according to AFP/Yahoo! News. Antiretroviral treatment costs between $10,000 and $15,000 per patient annually, an "enormous sum for the average Russian," according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/9).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.