Russia could soon have 4 million HIV-positive people

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 17 2002 11:00 PM ET

Oleg Yurin, deputy director of Russia's Center for AIDS Prevention and Treatment, says that given the country's skyrocketing HIV infection rate, there could soon be as many as 3 million to 4 million HIV-positive people in the former Soviet nation. There are currently 215,000 officially recognized cases of HIV in the country, but Yurin says the actual number is between 1 million and 2 million. "If urgent measures are not taken and the financing of programs aimed at disease prevention is not increased, there will be 3 to 4 million HIV-infected in Russia in a few years," Yurin said. He said one of the reasons for the rising numbers of HIV infections is that there is a shortage of Russian-made drugs to treat AIDS, leaving infected people with high viral loads that make them more likely to spread the virus to others.