** Russia at AIDS epidemic tipping point as HIV cases pass 1 million - official**
Russia’s AIDS epidemic is at a dangerous tipping point after the number of people registered HIV-positive passed the 1 million mark, the country’s top AIDS specialist said on Thursday, warning the rate of infection had reached record levels.
Russia registered its millionth HIV-positive patient – a 26-year-old woman in the south of the country – on Wednesday, Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the federal AIDS centre, told Reuters in a phone interview.
But he said the real number of HIV-positive Russians could be as high as 1.5 million, or 1 percent of the population, based on his and other expert estimates.
“The epidemic is gathering strength. Unfortunately the measures that have been taken have clearly not been enough,” Pokrovsky said.
He warned that Russia was “on the threshold” of moving from a concentrated epidemic, where HIV is highly prevalent in one subset of the population, to a generalised epidemic, where HIV rates among the general population are sufficient for sexual networking to drive new infections.
“We’re in a transitional phase,” he said.
AIDS, which stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Pokrovsky said 204,000 people had died of HIV in Russia since the first case was recorded in 1987. He expected the number of new cases in 2015 to be at least 93,000, up from just under 90,000 in 2014.
See More At: reuters.com/article/russia-aids-idINKCN0UZ2AL
Pokrovsky also revealed some alarming figures specific to certain populations. Nearly 10 percent of the country’s homosexual people and almost 20 percent of the country’s drug users are HIV-positive. In at least 10 regions, HIV has prevailed for over a year in more than 1 percent of the population. 40 percent of the cases have been linked to heterosexual sex and 55-60 percent to drug use. However, homosexual sex accounted for only about 1.5 percent, reports Reuters.
Interestingly, this article reports very few of these cases are because of homosexual sex, only 1.5%.