By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com October 28 2009 11:30 AM ET

AIDS experts meeting in Russia urged the country Wednesday to change its abstinence-only strategy and incorporate drug replacement therapies like methadone to help fight the spread of HIV among drug users.

The chief public health officer for Russia resisted the appeals at the regional AIDS conference, according to the Associated Press. Gennady Onishchenko said the country is “emphatically against” the use of drug replacement therapy, which proponents say has proven effective elsewhere.

UNAIDS officials expressed concern that Russia faces a surge in HIV and AIDS, fueled in part by rising drug use.