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Russia to Double Spending on HIV Care

Russia to Double Spending on HIV Care

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Government plans to spend $600 million next year on prevention and treatment.

Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova recently announced that the government would increase the budget for preventing and treating HIV to $600 million next year, according to Associated Press

The new budget is double what the Russian government currently spends on HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment. 

The budget news comes after Skvortsova announced earlier in the week that Russia's HIV epidemic could spiral out of control without increased funding. Russia has the highest rate of HIV infection in Europe, mostly via injection drug use. An estimated 900,000 Russians are living with HIV, up from 500,000 in 2010. The Health Minister also told Lenta,ru that 92,000 people had contracted HIV in 2014, a 12 percent increase from 2013. 

Skortsova previously claimed that current levels of funding would only cover 200,000 people, or 23 percent of the HIV-positive population. Without a funding increase, Skortsova claimed that the infection rate could increase by 250 percent by 2020. 

Since her announcement, the Russian government has doubled the budget and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged increased funding in highly affected regions. 

While the increase in funding will help with treatment, Russia still faces a problem among its injection drug using population. Nearly 60 percent of HIV-positive people identify as either injection drug users or sexual partners of drug users, but needle exchanges and methadone clinics are both illegal under Russian law. 

 

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