HIV toll tops one million in Russia and keeps climbing

November 29, 2016

Russia's HIV infection rate is growing 10 percent a year and over one million Russian have been diagnosed with the disease in nearly three decades, the country's top AIDS expert said Tuesday.

The number of registered cases reached 1,087,339 on September 30, Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the national state AIDS centre, said at a news conference.

That number is a cumulative total of all those registered since 1987 and includes those who have since died.

According to the health ministry, around 820,000 Russians out of a population of 146 million are currently living with HIV.

In 2015, 110,000 new cases were officially registered in Russia, up from 85,252 new cases in 2014.

The real number of those infected is significantly higher—1.3 to 1.4 million or almost 1 percent of the population, Pokrovsky estimated.

A global AIDS study published in The Lancet HIV journal in July found that new infections have plateaued globally at around 2.5 million per year, with more than 75 percent of infections in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Europe, the highest rate of new infections was in Russia and Ukraine, the study found.

"The situation is just getting worse and today it is threatening national security," said Pokrovsky, warning of the risk of a huge epidemic breaking out by 2021.

Just over half of new cases in Russia—51 per cent—result from injecting drugs, while 47 percent are infected by unprotected straight sex and only 1.5 percent say they got infected from gay sex.

"Russia is the only country in the world where drug users represent more than 50% of people with HIV," said Pokrovsky.

He slammed the lack of an HIV prevention campaign, such as handing out clean needles.

"The public funds aren't even enough to treat all those who are HIV positive. I'm not even talking about the prevention of new ," he said.

Only one in three HIV positive people in Russia gets free medical treatment due to a lack of funding, while the medicines are often of low quality.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has backed conservative values that align with those of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, meaning health services have focused on AIDS treatment rather than prevention.

Russia has also banned supplying with methadone as a substitute for heroin and has shifted its focus from information campaigns to those promoting abstinence.

The justice ministry blacklisted two major NGOs involved in HIV prevention in July under a controversial new law that labels them as "foreign agents."

Explore further: Russian activists struggle to raise HIV awareness as epidemic grows

Related Stories

Russian activists struggle to raise HIV awareness as epidemic grows

May 28, 2016
Vadim Pokrovsky stunned hundreds of students at a conference in Moscow last week when he reached into his pocket and took out a condom.

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

May 16, 2013
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.

Russia warns of two million HIV carriers in five years

May 14, 2015
Russia's AIDS epidemic is worsening and at least two million people are likely to be infected with HIV in about five years as the virus increasingly affects the heterosexual population, the country's top AIDS specialist said ...

Official: Fourth-largest city in Russia has HIV epidemic

November 2, 2016
Russian health officials say one in 50 people in the country's fourth-largest city is carrying the HIV virus as Russia struggles to deal with a rapidly rising number of infections.

One in seven with HIV in Europe unaware of infection: study

November 29, 2016
One in seven people with HIV in Europe is unaware of their infection, the EU and World Health Organization reported Tuesday as 2015 marked another record year for new HIV cases in the region.

HIV infections double in Russia, ex-Soviet states

November 27, 2014
HIV infections have doubled in ten years in Russia and former Soviet states, due mainly to unprotected sex and injecting drugs, a report said Thursday.

Recommended for you

New injectable antiretroviral treatment proved to be as effective as standard oral therapy

August 3, 2017
Intramuscularly administered antiretroviral therapy (ART) may be as effective for HIV treatment as current oral therapies. This is the main conclusion of a Phase II clinical trial carried out by 50 research centers around ...

Research finds home-based kit would increase HIV testing

July 31, 2017
Research led by William Robinson, PhD, Associate Research Professor of Behavioral & Community Health Sciences at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health, has found that 86% of heterosexuals who are at high risk for ...

Scientists divulge latest in HIV prevention

July 25, 2017
A far cry from the 1990s "ABC" campaign promoting abstinence and monogamy as HIV protection, scientists reported on new approaches Tuesday allowing people to have all the safe sex they want.

Girl's HIV infection seems under control without AIDS drugs

July 24, 2017
A South African girl born with the AIDS virus has kept her infection suppressed for more than eight years after stopping anti-HIV medicines—more evidence that early treatment can occasionally cause a long remission that, ...

Meds by monthly injection might revolutionize HIV care (Update)

July 24, 2017
Getting a shot of medication to control HIV every month or two instead of having to take pills every day could transform the way the virus is kept at bay.

Candidate AIDS vaccine passes early test

July 24, 2017
The three-decade-old quest for an AIDS vaccine received a shot of hope Monday when developers announced that a prototype triggered the immune system in an early phase of human trials.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.