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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia takes irreversible character

On the eve of World AIDS Day, which is marked on December 1, Russian medics raise concerns about the irreversible nature of the epidemic.

"HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is growing rapidly and becomes irreversible in many ways. The number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection has been growing, the number of HIV-infected patients with manifestations of AIDS has been growing as well," a report from the Federal Scientific and Methodological Center for Prevention and Control of AIDS said, Interfax reports. 

In 2014, as many as  80,000 new infections are to be registered. "At this rate of HIV infection, it can be expected that at the end of 2015 the number of cases will reach one million people," the document says.

Statistics show an increase in mortality among infected individuals. The average age of those who die of AIDS is not more than 35 years, which, according to doctors, causes significant demographic damage.

In Russia, the number of officially registered HIV carriers makes up 0.5% of the population. The number of infected individuals is the highest in Irkutsk (1.6%), Samara (1.5%) and Sverdlovsk (1.4%) regions. In St. Petersburg, the rate is 1%, TASS reports.

Also read: USSR's first HIV-positive man still enjoys life

"One percent of the population, for example in St. Petersburg, refers to officially registered infected people, but if we take the age group where they are the majority, then there are about 5% of young men there. That is, every 20th person has HIV," said Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the above-mentioned organization. 

"Dear women, keep it in mind that the probability of marrying an HIV-positive man is very high," he added.

"There are 80-100 cases of HIV infection among women a day. This is no joke - a day. They are mostly young women, aged  from 25 to 35 years," said Pokrovsky. 

Vadim Pokrovsky, a professor at the Russian Academy of Sciences, drew attention to the fact that HIV stopped being an infection of marginalized and homosexual individuals. "It used to be believed that the infection was widely spread among homosexual males. However, last year, the number of HIV infections related to homosexual men was only 1.1%, whereas all other cases were associated with heterosexual people, who lead a normal sex life," said Pokrovsky.

The rate of HIV-positive heterosexual individuals is the highest among drug addicts (57%). Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman is the second most common cause of infection. For men, the average age of infection is 30-35 years.

The head of the Centre for Prevention and Control of AIDS believes that progress in the development of vaccine and the decreasing rate of transmission of infection from mother to child give an opportunity to struggle against consequences, rather than causes.

In the United States, the struggle against HIV/AIDS develops differently. The main problem in the States is the refusal of patients from treatment. Experts at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that as many as 840,000 people out of 1.2 million US citizens living with HIV, refused to take medications on a regular basis. It goes about medicines from the category of highly active antiretroviral therapy that can suppress the virus. Of this number, 66% are already aware of their diagnosis, but do not care about their own health, while 20% do not know that they are infected.

Also read: HIV-positive people treated as monsters

Numerous studies show that antiretroviral therapy can prolong the life of HIV-infected patients to almost old age, whereas without medications, the virus begins to spread throughout the body and causes AIDS several years later. It was also established that the people, who undergo courses of this therapy, have minimal or even completely undetectable viral load, and the risk for them to transmit the infection to others is reduced by 96%. They can give birth to healthy children and engage in activities to provide medical care that was previously prohibited for HIV-infected individuals. 

Pravda.Ru