Russian HIV epidemic reaches one million

21 January 2016
Russian Dolls

The number of people in Russia living with HIV has reached one million, according to Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal AIDS Centre.

People aged 25-35 are particularly effected, with injecting drug use and heterosexual sex the most common routes of transmission. 

In an interview with Reuters on Thursday 21 January 2016, Pokrovsky said: “It is expected that a total of 93,000 new HIV cases will have been registered in 2015, which is a historically high level.

"The epidemic is gathering strength. Unfortunately the measures that have been taken have clearly not been enough.”

In recent years, Russia has markedly increased access to HIV treatment for people living with HIV, but the rate of new infections means that the treatment gains have not been felt.

While the government plans to spend US$600m in 2016 to fight HIV, access to prevention programmes such as needle exchanges, testing and counselling are inadequate. As are specialist services for key affected populations including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and sex workers. Opioid substitution treatment is also illegal in the country.

Russia’s punitive laws around drug use and same sex relationships also prevent many people from accessing the services they need. 

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