UNAIDS’ HIV/AIDS Estimates for Russia ‘Exaggerated,’ Country’s Top Health Official Says
New UNAIDS figures that indicate between 900,000 and one million people in Russia are HIV-positive are "exaggerated," Gennady Onishchenko, the country's top health official, said on Monday, RIA Novosti reports. Onishchenko added that the "data gathering techniques" used by the agency are not "understandable" to Russian officials (RIA Novosti, 11/26). UNAIDS in a report released last week said that Russia represents 66% of the number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among former Soviet Union countries. Michel Kazatchkine -- executive director of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- on Monday when discussing the Russian estimates said that UNAIDS had completed substantial work "in order to obtain objective figures," AFP/Yahoo! Health reports (AFP/Yahoo! Health, 11/26).
Onishchenko said that Russia has registered 403,000 HIV cases since 1987, when the first case of the virus was reported in the country. "Russia is the only country which carries out testing of risk groups," he said, adding that this year, 22 million people will be tested for HIV (RIA Novosti, 11/26). Russian experts say the actual number of HIV-positive people in the country is about 1.3 million (AFP/Yahoo! Health, 11/26).