Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Putin’s health cuts have made Russia into ‘epicenter of HIV/AIDS epidemic’

HIV / AIDS (Image:
HIV / AIDS (Image:
Putin’s health cuts have made Russia into ‘epicenter of HIV/AIDS epidemic’
Edited by: A. N.
Editor’s note: The dire HIV/AIDS situation in Russia described in the article represents an enormous threat to the occupied territories of Ukraine due to the presence of Russian Federation troops and mercenaries (frequently felons recruited from Russian prisons and/or drug users), who sexually victimize or have unprotected sex with Ukrainian population under their control. As Ukrainian territory gets liberated from Russia, significant medical efforts would have to be made to stem this epidemic.

Vladimir Putin’s health care “optimization,” a euphemism for drastic cuts, has contributed to what the UN agency responsible for combating HIV/AIDS into making Russia “an epicenter” of that epidemic, with infection rates now higher in the Russian Federation than they are in Uganda or Zimbabwe.

Gazeta” journalists Elena Malysheva, Karina Romanova, and Petr Netreba say that a new UNAIDS report shows that Russia “has become the country with the largest epidemic of HIV in the world” far surpassing “the majority of states.” But despite that, Moscow continues to cut back spending to combat this illness.

What is most worrisome, the UN agency says, is that the share of new cases of HIV infection continue to grow far more rapidly in Russia than in most other countries. In 2015, Russia had 11 percent more cases than it did a year earlier, 919,500 as compared to 824,000 in 2014. Most countries saw rates of growth of five to eight percent or much less.

As a result, measured by the rate of growth in the number of new cases, Russia surpassed Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. It only compared favorably with countries like Nigeria which have a far larger number of people already infected and also a larger number of new cases.

The three “Gazeta” journalists report that UNAIDS laid much of the blame for Russia’s poor performance on the fact that the World Bank reclassified Russia as a country with sufficient income to pay its own way in this sector. Unfortunately, they point out, Moscow has not made up for the loss of grants from abroad and indeed has cut medical care drastically.

As a result, only 37 percent of those the Russian government has identified as having HIV are receiving treatment. And if one compares the number treated to those estimated to be infected but not registered as such with the authorities, the share getting medical help is only 28 percent.

Moreover, in order to save money, the Russian government has ended early intervention in HIV cases, withholding help until symptoms appear, failing to combat widespread intravenous narcotics use by providing methadone, and cutting spending for imported medicines needed to fight HIV/AIDS.

Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova says that Moscow intends to boost spending in this area, but the numbers coming in from around the country undercut her claim. It is true that Moscow sent 17.485 billion rubles to the regions in 2015 and has cut that only by 44 million rubles in 2016.

But those figures are deceptive especially regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS because most of the anti-retro-viral drugs used are imported and the collapse of the ruble exchange rate against foreign currencies means that there is far less money for fighting this epidemic than Moscow officials admit.

Edited by: A. N.
You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!