HIV epidemic in Russia
The number of Russians who have received a positive HIV diagnosis passed the one million mark this year. According to Vadim Pokrovski, head of the Federal AIDS Centre in Moscow, around 850,000 Russians were diagnosed with HIV at the beginning of 2016. Another 220,000 have died of AIDS since the late 1980s. He estimates that another half-million Russians are infected, but not diagnosed. An estimated 100,000 were newly infected in 2016, about 275 daily. This is the highest rate of HIV infection in Europe and constitutes almost 1 percent of the total population of Russia.
Russia is among five countries that account for almost half the new infections globally; the others are South Africa, Nigeria, India and Uganda. The spread of the virus is made easier by the fact that there is little to no education about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in schools and the public sphere.
At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church and some politicians promote “conservative values” as the best way to combat HIV.