HIV infection rates reach epidemic levels in 19 Russian regions

The rate of HIV infection has reached epidemic proportions in 19 Russian regions, independent Russian think-tank To Be Precise announced on Friday, which is also World AIDS Day.

Last year, rates of HIV in excess of the epidemic threshold of 1% were observed in the Kemerovo (2.2%), Tver (1.9%), Samara and Tomsk (1.8% each) and 15 other regions. The authors of the study note that the exact number of people in the country who are HIV+ is unknown.

Last year, Rospotrebnadzor, the federal agency charged with consumer rights protection and human well-being, reported that a total of 1.2 million Russians were living with HIV (an increase of 71,000 on the previous year). The Health Ministry’s chief external HIV expert said the number was 909,000, and then 887,000 six months later, though these figures are contested.

According to To Be Precise, mass disruptions began hitting the supply of HIV medication in Russia this summer. From January to October, the Disruptions website, which monitors the availability of HIV and hepatitis treatment in Russia, had received 565 reports of people having difficulty accessing antiretroviral therapy and diagnostic facilities in 55 regions, 77% more than the whole of last year.

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