Statistics: There Are More Than 1% of People Living with HIV in 13 Russia’s Regions

News6 July 2019

This means that the epidemic has become generalized at least in 13 regions of the country.

The data appear in the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor) report “Epidemiological Situation on HIV Infection in the Russian Federation and HIV Prevention in the Work Places”, which was reviewed by RBC. According to the informational agency, there used to be 9 regions like that in 2015.

The most affected regions include Irkutsk Region (1814.1 registered HIV cases per 100,000 population), Sverdlovsk Region (1804.1), Kemerovo Region (1796), Samara Region (1474.5), Orenburg Region (1356.6), Khanty–Mansi Autonomous District (1303.7), Chelyabinsk Region (1266.5), Leningrad Region (1210.5), Tyumen Region (1201.2), Novosibirsk Region (1171.2), Perm Territory (1090.5), Ulyanovsk Region (1031.5) and Crimea (1104.7).

In addition to that the report points out that in 35 regions of the country HIV rate in the general population is above 0.5%. Among other tendencies is growing HIV population in small cities where it is 2-4 times higher than the Russian average. There are 30 cities like that in Russia.

At the same time as it can be concluded from the figures provided by the supervision service, there is some kind of a slowdown in epidemic at national level. The number of new HIV infections in 2018 was 87.7 thousand people, which is 800 people less than in 2017.

Another striking fact is the growing number of people infected through sexual intercourse, heterosexual, in particular, according to the statistics. Though the real number of homosexual contacts within this number might be as high as half since most homosexuals consulting doctors prefer to conceal their sexual orientation.

It is important to note that the number of sexual transmission cases increases every year – in 2018 it was 54.8% of all new HIV cases, in 2017 – 53.5% and in 2016 – 48.7%.

This may indicate that the epidemic is expanding beyond the so-called key groups (MSM, sex workers and injecting drug users) and spreading in the general population, which, basically, represents the generalized epidemic situation mentioned above.

It is noteworthy, that 70% of new HIV infections in 2018 is among economically active 30-50 years old people. There are also more cases of infections among people of pre-retirement and retirement age.

36.9 thousand HIV positive people died in Russia in 2018 with tuberculosis as the main cause of their deaths, Rospotrebnadzor points out.

As for the course of the epidemic, according to Vadim Pokrovsky, the Head of the Department for Prevention and Fighting AIDS of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being, cited by RBC media, it will be growing from year to year till the number of dead equals the number of new infections.

The expert believes this is not only a matter of poor prevention but also of the fact that the epidemic problem is being ignored by a great part of health officials. Instead of taking drastic measures they prefer saying in public that the epidemic is under control, which is untrue.

AIDS.CENTER wrote earlier about the UN anti-AIDS strategy to achieve 90-90-90 targets, which implies 90% of people living with HIV must know their HIV status, 90% out of them must be on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment must have undetectable viral loads.

In the international experts' view only those countries, where the above mentioned targets are achieved, can claim they have the epidemic under control.

According to Rospotrebnadzor, in 2018 HIV treatment coverage was only 42.2%, which means 443,000 out of 1,007,369 people living with HIV had received ARV therapy and the number of people with undetectable viral loads was 34.3% (345,147 people).

In Vadim Pokrovsky’s opinion voiced by RIA Novosti in 2018 the general number of HIV positive people in Russia may be as high as 1.3 million, which means the official number will be even less.

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