HIV Prevalent in Russia

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According to UN findings, one in every hundred persons in Russia is living with HIV, the causative virus of AIDS. From current official results given, over 200 new cases spring up on a daily basis.

In Russia, the spread of the HIV virus is five times faster and higher than average globally. Almost 63,000 people were found to have tested positive for HIV between January and October of 2012 alone, with a record of about 4000 infected children and 529 deaths. Dirty needles used in injecting drugs account for almost 60% of cases of new infections. Russia, infamous for heroin usage problem of its teeming population, is ranked high amongst countries with heroin abuse.

Various groups within Russia are currently advocating better care for heroin addicts and better management of sexual transmissions using available knowledge and evidence gathered from other regions. However, harm-reduction strategies, such as needle exchange programs, have for the most part been rejected by the government, angering global health workers and HIV prevention groups. Activists have claimed that the social stigma attached to HIV patients have confused the war against HIV in Russia.

Even though the government has increased the budget for HIV, the United Nations has cut off funds for trainings on creating awareness, in addition to medication funding.

Figures for HIV and AIDS related deaths are steadily on the decline and have remained stable for four years. The UN has put the figures of HIV positive persons at 34.2 million, with 1.7 million AIDS related deaths recorded globally.

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Source: Al Jazeera

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