Number of HIV infections rises dramatically in Russia
The number of HIV infections in Russia has nearly doubled over the last 5 years, with official estimates Wednesday reporting a increase from 370,000 to 703,000 in 2012.
The year-to-year rise in infections was 5 per cent, or 62,000 cases from 2011, Vadim Pokrovski, head of the federal Anti-AIDS Centre, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Independent researchers in Russia however claim that the actual number of infections was much higher than official sources.
Independent sources estimate that more than a million of the country's 143 million inhabitants are infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
Russia's chief medical officer Gennadi Onishchenko has recently attributed the spread of HIV in the country to the unsafe use of needles by drug addicts. More than 600,000 people have been registered as HIV-positive in Russia since 1987, he said.
The Moscow-based Anti-AIDS Centre further reported a steep rise in negative attitudes about the disease, with activists complaining of inadequate supplies of medication as well as information about HIV.