The first hospice for AIDS victims in Russia is opening in Saint Petersburg today. According to the public health committee of the Saint Petersburg administration, the hospice will be a part of the already functioning hospital for HIV sufferers. The project is being financed by the city administration as part of a larger public health programme designed by the committee on public health.
Observation and treatment of patients in the hospice will be carried out by qualified infection disease doctors with knowledge of modern methods of treatment. The hospice has been provided with all necessary medicines including the modern anti-retrovirus drugs which are capable of prolonging the life of sufferers. Medical and psychological help will also be available at the hospice around the clock to ensure the efficacy of the project and there will be a car for visiting HIV and AIDS sufferers in their homes.
HIV infection is currently spreading faster in Russia than anywhere else in the world. 44,888 new cases of HIV infection were recorded in Russia in 2001, including 9,391 cases in Saint Petersburg. In 2002 these figures have been somewhat lower. By December 1, 2002, only 6,229 new cases had been recorded in Saint Petersburg, including 4,713 residents of Saint Petersburg.
Without special therapy HIV infection can develop into AIDS up to 3-4 years faster. This means that if the current, masked HIV epidemic is not adequately treated within the next year or two there could be a fatal AIDS epidemic too.
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