What with there being 22,000 HIV-infected people in Moscow, the capital's authorities intend to advance a legislative initiative that job applicants pass mandatory HIV tests, announced Andrei Seltsovsky, the head of the city's Healthcare Department.
Even though the practice is common abroad, it is still regarded as a violation of human rights here in Russia, which is inadmissible considering the disease we have to deal with, believes Seltsovsly. 1,800 new HIV cases have been registered in the capital since the beginning of the year. 25 deaths from AIDS were registered in 2002.
Even though the majority of HIV cases are still drug addicts, the number of people, who contracted the virus through sexual contacts, has increased fourfold as compared to 1999, he said, which means the epidemic is spreading outside the boundaries of traditional risk groups. 52% of newly registered HIV cases in 2002 were young people aged 19-25. The number of HIV-infected teenagers aged between 13 and 18 has grown 8%. 58% of HIV cases are women of active child-bearing age /20-30/. No wonder the number of children born from HIV-infected mothers grew sixfold in the past three years.
Seltsovsky also reported that measures taken within the framework of a target program called Anti-HIV/AIDS had increased the life interval of AIDS patients by 2.3 times and slowed down the spreading of the disease. In order to continue curbing the epidemic in Moscow one must go on taking steps to implement a complex target program for 2004-2006, he stressed, adding that the program in question accentuated prophylactic measures, including the cutting off of drug delivery channels, actions against prostitution, and propaganda of a healthy lifestyle.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.