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Diplomat says record 34 million Russians got tested for HIV in 2017

Russia is taking measures to form "a social environment that excludes the discrimination of HIV-positive people"

UN, June 13. /TASS/. The whole package of HIV prevention measures is free of charge in Russia, and last year a record 34 million Russian citizens were tested for HIV, said Sergei Kononuchenko, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at a General Assembly session devoted to combating HIV/AIDS.

Russia "attaches great importance to the fight to end the epidemics, both nationally and globally," he said. Kononuchenko dwelled on the implementation of the state strategy of countering the spread of HIV, as well as the "comprehensive approach" in providing medical help for the HIV-positive that is being used in Russia. "Social adaptation and rehabilitation technologies and social support measures are being implemented" in the country, along with massive information campaigns, the diplomat said. "In 2017, a record 34 million people were tested for HIV," he reported.

The Russian deputy permanent representative highlighted that "the whole package of measures to fight HIV, including preventive measures and medication support, are free of charge for the Russians." "In 2017, 320,000 patients received antiretroviral therapy," he added. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country was practically stopped, he said.

In addition, Kononuchenko said, Russia is taking measures to form "a social environment that excludes the discrimination of HIV-positive people." In particular, "there are changes to be introduced to the list of diseases which prevent a person from adopting or guarding a child," he explained.

On Tuesday, the General Assembly discussed the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and other political documents on this issue. Speaking at the session, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on the countries to focus efforts to prevent HIV transmission and firstly protect the younger population from the virus. He supported the provision of a wide variety of sexual and reproductive health services, the implementation of programs to reduce drug addiction risks and providing access for HIV patients to antiretroviral therapy.

Guterres said that at this turning point people should strive to create an AIDS-free world with renewed energy and determination. The epidemic has not ended yet, but it may be stopped, and we all should do our part of this work, he said. Combatting HIV is one of the Sustainable Development Goals approved at a UN summit in 2015. Then, the global community set the task to put an end to the HIV epidemic by 2030.