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More than One Percent of Russians Infected with HIV Virus in 13 Regions of the Country
Window on Eurasia
July 5, 2019
by Paul Goble

Over the last three years, Moscow officials say, the number of Russian regions where HIV infections have reached the level – one percent of the population – that the UN says constitutes epidemic level has gone up by 40 percent to include 13 federal subjects. In three -- Irkutsk, Sverdlovsk, and Kemerovo -- the share infected approaches nearly twice that.

These figures, reported by the RBC news agency on the basis of information released by Russia’s consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor, are particularly disturbing not only as an overall trend but for three additional reasons.

First, they increasingly reflect the spread of the disease by sexual contact and are affecting ever older age cohorts.

Second, the infections are shifting from ports and major cities, the traditional centers of HIV, to smaller cities and towns.

And third, far fewer Russians who are infected know that and are being treated than is the case elsewhere. Consequently, far more will likely develop AIDS and die

Not surprisingly, some conservative Russian commentators immediately blamed this development on what they label “disorderly sexual relations” and even suggested that this medical disaster is the work of Western advocates of LGBT rights who want to use HIV/AIDS to undermine Russia.

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