Increase in HIV-positive Russian women
The number of HIV-positive Russian women has
increased over 5 years, said Alexander Goliusov, the head of the
Department for the Monitoring of HIV, AIDS and Viral Hepatitis at the Federal
Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) during the advisory
session ‘Access to healthcare for female intravenous drug users in Russia’. The
session was organised by the regional office of the UN Programme on HIV and
According to data
from the Federal Scientific-Methodological Centre for Prevention and Control of
AIDS, cases of HIV have been reported in all regions of Russia. Experts have
found the highest levels of infection in Siberia, the Volga and Urals.
Meanwhile, 68% of those registered HIV-positive are young
people under the age of 30. According to Alexander Goliusov, if we take into
account the demographic situation in Russia, these figures are
“threatening” to the health of the nation. In addition to this, the
number of people infected in the 30-40 age group is also increasing.
Intravenous drug use remains the major cause of HIV in Russia.
According to Rospotrebnadzor, over the past 5 years,
the proportion of women infected with HIV has seen a significant increase. The
Russian Federation now has around 216,000 registered HIV-positive Russian
women, 36% of those infected in the whole country.
A specialist from the Ministry of Health, Valentina
Kirzhanova, spoke of the problems facing drug dependent women in Russia.
Statistics show that female intravenous drug users are between 20 to 39 years
old. As a rule they only seek medical assistance after three years of drug
abuse. Specialists have constructed a typical portrait of female intravenous
drug users. They live in large cities, and have vocational secondary education.
They do not have medical insurance policies, and often have
difficulty accessing medical assistance during pregnancy and birth.