YEKATERINBURG, November 2. /TASS/. There has not been any officially declared HIV epidemic in Russia’s Urals city Yekaterinburg whatsoever, the first deputy head of local health department, Tatyana Savinova, told TASS on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the official held a press conference at the TASS regional information center in the Urals about the start of a campaign on preventing HIV infection. "I was asked about the situation with HIV in Yekaterinburg, and I announced data circulated by the mass media."
"Of course, for medical professionals this HIV epidemic began a long time ago as many people are infected in Yekaterinburg. But this did not happen yesterday and nothing was officially announced," Savinova explained.
On Tuesday, Savinova said Russia’s Sverdlovsk region in the Urals was hit the hardest by HIV.
"The Sverdlovsk region ranks first among Russian regions for the HIV infection rate," she said.
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%.