As many as 1.5 million Russians, or 1% of the population have now been infected with HIV.
There were 90,000 new cases in Russia in 2014, and the Aids centre further estimates that the number of HIV infections will reach 2 million by 2019. Since Russia’s first recorded case of HIV in 1987, around 204,000 people have died as a result of the virus.
For 2015, they expect there to be around 93,000 new infections, and a 5-10 percent increase in deaths.
Vadim Pokovsky has said:
“The epidemic is gathering strength. Unfortunately the measures that have been taken have clearly not been enough,” Pokrovsky said.
He warned that Russia was “on the threshold” of moving from a concentrated epidemic, where HIV is highly prevalent in one subset of the population, to a generalised epidemic, where HIV rates among the general population are sufficient for sexual networking to drive new infections.
The Aids expert has criticised the Kremlin’s policies as responsible for the HIV/Aids epidemic. Points of concern he has previously highlighted include: the increasing influence of the Orthodox Church, which frowns upon the use of condoms; the criminalisation of the sex trade; a lack of sex education; and a failure to ringfence funds for preventative rather than curative approaches to the disease.
“In separate regions we can say there is already a generalised HIV epidemic,” he noted, saying 55-60 percent of cases were linked to drug use and around 40 percent to heterosexual sex. Gay sex accounted for only about 1.5 percent.