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Russian government shells out $35 mln to fight HIV

November 02, 2016, 12:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

In Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, the HIV infection rate has reached epidemic levels: practically 1 in 50 of Yekaterinburg’s residents is HIV-infected

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© Ruslan Shamukov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has issued a directive to allocate 2.28 bln rubles ($35.95 mln) in budget funds to ensure citizens have access to medicines to fight HIV, hepatitis B and C.

The funds will be earmarked for Russia’s Health Ministry as stipulated by the federal budget for 2016. The respective document was published on the Russian government’s website on Wednesday.

Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in the Urals has been hit the hardest by HIV, a senior health ministry official said on Tuesday. "The Sverdlovsk region ranks first among Russian regions for the HIV infection rate," said Tatyana Savinova, who is the first deputy head of Yekaterinburg’s healthcare department.

In the past nine months, the number of infected persons stood at 118.2 per 100,000 citizens. Last year, the number was higher - 170.1 per 100,000, she told a press conference in the TASS regional information center in the Urals.

In Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, the HIV infection rate has reached epidemic levels. "Now practically 1 in 50 of Yekaterinburg’s residents is HIV-infected. The city reached this HIV epidemic proportion a long time ago, back when more than 1% of citizens were infected by the disease," she said.

The high levels of HIV infection are explained by the region’s peculiarity, the official said. "There are many penal colonies where the HIV infection rate is high." Besides, some 23% of the population undergo HIV medical examinations, while in other regions the number stands at less than 15%.

Starting from January 2017, a single registry of HIV infected people in Russia’s regions will be initiated. Medics say the new system will make available complete information on the number of infected persons, their treatment and medication.

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