Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
VOA News Examines HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Former Soviet Union Nations
VOA News on Tuesday examined the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the former Soviet Union and what governments and organizations are doing to stem the spread of the virus in the region. The prospects for implementing successful HIV/AIDS prevention programs are best in the five Central Asian republics, where HIV prevalence currently is low but could increase without intervention. Although the total number of HIV cases is low in the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the number of new cases is increasing rapidly. In Russia and Ukraine, injection drug use is a primary mode of transmission, especially among people younger than age 30. In addition, unprotected sex is facilitating the spread of HIV from high-risk groups, such as commercial sex workers, to the general population in some countries, according to Robyn Montgomery of Russia's AIDS Foundation East-West. However, governments in the region have been slow to react, according to VOA News. Montgomery said political leaders must acknowledge the seriousness of the epidemic; fight HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination; provide increased funding and resources, including antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS patients; and promote grassroots involvement (McAdams, VOA News, 8/30).
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