Russia has 'no anti-AIDS strategy', official says

There is no government strategy to fight the spread of AIDS in Russia, where the number of deaths caused by the disease continues to grow, a senior healthcare official said on Thursday.

"We have no national strategy to fight against AIDS," the director of the Russian Federal Agency against AIDS, Vadim Pokrovsky, told a news conference.

The rate of new HIV infections grew 12 percent in 2012—69,849 new cases against 62,384 new cases in 2011, according to the government figures.

The number of deaths caused by AIDS in Russia also continued to grow, with 20,511 deaths registered in 2012 against 18,414 deaths in 2011—an 11.4 percent increase.

"The state spends 19 billion rubles ($606 million, 470 million euros) a year for diagnosis and treatment of people who have contracted AIDS and only 200 million rubles for ," Pokrovsky said.

"We are fighting not against the epidemic itself, but against its consequences... In the absence of prevention (measures) we should expect an increase in the number of new cases," he added.

The high rates of AIDS-related mortality in Russia are caused by a widespread practice of a delayed anti-retroviral treatment as doctors often use expensive drugs sparingly, Pokrovsky said.

In total, some 720,000 people have contracted HIV in Russia since the first cases were recorded in the country in 1987, according to the latest official statistics. Nearly 130,000 patients have died so far.

But a 2011 report by the United Nations AIDS agency, UNAIDS, puts the real figure of HIV-infected people at about 1.2 million people—roughly one percent of the .

In Western and , the rate is five times lower—at about 0.2 percent.

Experts speak of "a generalisation of the " that affects not just high-risk groups—such as or prostitutes—but all of society, said Pokrovsky.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

One in 10 South Africans HIV positive

May 14, 2013

One in ten South Africans is HIV positive but AIDS-related deaths are falling as ramped-up treatment begins to have an impact, the country's official statistics agency said Tuesday.

Malawi gets 1,000 new HIV infections a week

Feb 23, 2013

AIDS-ravaged Malawi, where over a tenth of the population is HIV positive, records on average 1,000 new cases weekly, a top government official said Saturday.

WHO says Cambodia can end HIV infections by 2020

May 10, 2013

Cambodia is on track to become one of the few countries in the world to successfully reverse its HIV epidemic and may eliminate new infections by 2020, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Recommended for you

Condoms 'too small' for Uganda men

Sep 19, 2014

Ugandan MPs have been inundated with complaints that many condoms on sale in the east African nation are too small, warning the problem is a blow to the fight against AIDS.

Withdrawal from the evolutionary race

Sep 18, 2014

In some HIV sufferers, the immune system does not fight off the immune deficiency virus. Instead, the body tolerates the pathogen. A research team headed by ETH Zurich has now determined how strongly patients ...

The genetics of coping with HIV

Sep 16, 2014

We respond to infections in two fundamental ways. One, which has been the subject of intensive research over the years, is "resistance," where the body attacks the invading pathogen and reduces its numbers. Another, which ...

User comments