Injection Drug Use Accounts for Two-Thirds of HIV Cases in Russia, Agency Says
The use of injection drugs is responsible for about two-thirds of HIV cases in Russia, the country's consumer rights and sanitary oversight agency announced at a press conference on Monday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports. Alexandre Golyussov, head of HIV/AIDS prevention at the agency, said, "AIDS is mainly spreading in Russia among drug addicts, while sexual transmission is the second main cause."
According to the agency, Russia has officially recorded about 450,000 HIV/AIDS cases, and more than 80% occur among people between ages 15 and 30 (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/24). However, Lyudmila Gulchenko, a deputy director of the consumer rights and sanitary oversight agency, said the percentage of new cases among people older than age 30 has been on the rise since mid-2007. She added that about 20 infants contract HIV daily because of mother-to-child transmission (ITAR-TASS, 11/24). Russia's federal HIV/AIDS center also reported that despite prevention programs, nearly 37,000 Russians have contracted HIV since the beginning of 2008, a number that could reach 50,000 by the end of the year, compared with 44,713 new cases in 2007 (AFP/Yahoo! News, 11/24).
According to Gulchenko, the government plans to allocate 15.6 billion rubles, or about $568 million, next year for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, diagnosis and other services. She added that HIV/AIDS is a serious concern in cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in the Sverdlovsk, Samara, Moscow, Irkutsk, Leningrad and Khanty-Mansi areas (ITAR-TASS, 11/24).