Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Bloomberg Examines HIV Among IDUs in Russia
Bloomberg on Friday examined the HIV epidemic among injection drug users in Russia, who comprise about 80% of the country's HIV-positive population. According to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, about 2% of Russia's population uses injection drugs, compared with about 0.6% of people in the U.S. The estimated number of people in Russia who use injection drugs has increased twofold since 2000, Bloomberg reports. "Being an intravenous drug user and having HIV is a double stigma, and so it's not surprising that we're faced with this situation," UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said, adding, "But research show that HIV epidemics among injecti[on] drug users can be prevented, stabilized and even reversed, and we need to increase treatment and prevention services rapidly." About 5,000 of the up to 100,000 HIV-positive people in Russia who need access to treatment are receiving it, according to the Open Society Institute. The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has pledged about $209 million over five years to increase access to HIV/AIDS treatment in Russia, and the country is in negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to decrease the price of drugs purchased in bulk with the Global Fund grant. According to Sascha Volgina -- founder of FrontAIDS, Russia's first treatment advocacy group -- overcoming the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS might be the final step in guaranteeing access to treatment for IDUs in the country (Bloomberg, 8/18).
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