The scale of AIDS spreading in Russia requires to consider it not a medical, but a state problem, said first deputy health minister Gennady Onishchenko at the international conference on state and public organizations interaction for fulfilling the "Programme of urgent measures on counteracting spread of AIDS in the CIS".
The most dangerous situation is in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. On July 15, 2002, there were 203,000 people with the HIV registered in Russia, that is 221 per each 100,000 of the population. Only 15 per cent of them got infected through sexual intercourse, while the rest are drug addicts, infected via intravenous injections of drugs.
To prevent the spread of the epidemic and global consequences of AIDS for the mankind, the CIS countries and international public organizations should consolidate their efforts and work out a single strategy for combating the HIV, Onishchenko believes.
Last June the Special Session of the UN General Assembly adopted a declaration, defining the major ways of fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The CIS Council for cooperation in health care adopted in January 2002 its own "Programme of urgent measures on counteracting spread of AIDS in the CIS". In May 2002 Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov signed a special programme of the Russian Federation for combating AIDS in the country, involving the UNAIDS and the Global Fund for combating TB, AIDS and malaria".
The programmed envisages allocation of 190-200 million roubles from the Russian government funds annually to equip specialized hospitals, provide free of charge treatment to HIV-infected people, to supply modern medicines, and to create education programmes of AIDS prevention.
Also, Russia contributes $20 million to the Global Fund. Part of this sum has already been paid, Onischenko said.
Head of the UNAIDS Europe and Asia department Lewis Lawrence stressed that taking into account the global threat of the spread of the disease, prices for medicines should be unified in all countries, and, thus, non-governmental commercial structures should be involved in the world programme for combating AIDS.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969