Europe

Russia reports 12% rise in HIV - 200 new cases a day

A little girl at a Russian orphanage for children with HIV (file image)
Image caption Russia recorded at least 4,398 children with HIV this year of whom 529 died

The number of HIV cases in Russia was 12% higher in the first six months of 2012 than in the same period last year, government health experts say.

Official data shows that in the first 10 months, 703,781 Russians had the virus, of whom 90,396 died.

In nearly 60% of new cases, drug injection using dirty needles was the cause of infection.

Meanwhile, worldwide, the number of new infections in adults has stayed broadly stable for the past four years.

The executive director of the UN's HIV/Aids agency, Michel Sidibe, told BBC News last week that Russia was among a number of countries still failing to use the right strategies in tackling the virus.

About 200 Russians now contract HIV/Aids every day, Vadim Pokrovsky, head of Russia's federal centre for the fight against the virus, said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Russia's Ria-Novosti news agency, he warned that unless preventative action was taken, the number of cases would approximately double every five years.

The data released by his centre shows that in the first 10 months of 2012, a total of 4,398 children were infected with HIV by their mothers, of whom 529 died.

Russia has one of the worst heroin problems in the world, exacerbated by its proximity to Afghan smuggling routes and the lack of effective anti-drug action, such as the provision of clean needles.

Nearly 39% of new cases of HIV in 2012 were transmitted during heterosexual sex while sex between men accounted for just under 1% of new infections.

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