Few Russian HIV-positives treated with antiretrovirals in 2005

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prostitutionMOSCOW (AFP) - Only about 10 percent of Russia's officially estimated 341,000 HIV-positive patients received treatment in 2005 with antiretroviral drugs to slow down the development of AIDS, a senior health official said.

"Last year only 3,500 people received treatment with these drugs," Vadim Pokrovsky, director of the federal centre for preventing and fighting AIDS, said according to Russian news agencies.

"In many regions there are no doctors qualified" to administer the treatment and the number of specialist medical centres is inadequate, he said.

The number of HIV-positive Russians has now risen to 357,918 according to official figures but Pokrovsky thinks the real figure is thee times higher.

"The number of people carrying the virus continues to grow," he said.

"Every day we record almost 100 new cases and half of them are young women who have contracted the virus through sexual contact.

"We foresee that by the end of the year almost 10,000 people will be able to receive these (antiretroviral) drugs and in 2007 there are plans to increase that number to 30,000-35,000."

More than 15,000 HIV-positive Russians will be able to take advantage next year of an antiretroviral treatment financed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, he said.

In 2006 the Russian government increased 20-fold funding to combat AIDS, recognised as a "national priority", setting aside 3.1 billion rubles (115 million dollars, 90 million euros).

But HIV-positive people and non-governmental organisations this summer condemned a serious shortage of antriretroviral drugs, the result of mismanagement of the money allocated.

source - AFP 

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