E.U., WHO Launch $5.4M HIV/AIDS Program in Russia
The European Union and the World Health Organization on Wednesday announced plans to launch a two-year, $5.4 million project aimed at reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Russia, the AP/Moscow Times reports (Danilova, AP/Moscow Times, 1/25). Russia's Ministry of Public Health in November 2005 called HIV/AIDS "one of Russia's national priorities" and announced plans to devote $107 million in 2006 and $267 million in 2007 to "an unprecedented effort" to stem the epidemic in the country. According to official figures, there are about 330,000 HIV-positive people living in Russia, although some experts say this figure is probably one-third of the actual number. About 40,000 HIV-positive people in the country need antiretroviral treatment but only about 5,000 receive it, according to some groups' estimates. The government's pledge increases the current state funding for HIV/AIDS projects 20-fold (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/30/05). E.U. and WHO -- which are pledging $4.8 million and $600,000 respectively -- plan to direct the project's funding toward enhancing treatment and care services, training health care workers and providing other technical support, as well as increasing the security of blood transfusions, Corinna Reinicke, of the E.U. Russia Cooperation Program, which oversees the project, said. The project will be implemented in four Russian provinces with high HIV prevalence, including Irkutsk in Siberia, Krasnodar, Kaliningrad and the St. Petersburg region. HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment has to be a "priority," Mary Collins, head of the WHO Office in Moscow, said (AP/Moscow Times, 1/25).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.