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Russia’s health minister points to significant slowdown in HIV cases in 2016

In 2016, the number of new cases reduced to 86,000

MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. The number of new HIV cases in Russia noticeably slowed down in 2016, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on Monday.

"The number of new cases reduced dramatically in 2016, to 86,600," she said, adding that a year before the number of new HIV cases had exceeded 100,000.

Apart from that, she said HIV testing coverage increased in 2016 by 13% The anti-HIV therapy coverage of infected patients rose as well. "In the past ten years, we expanded the anti-HIV therapy coverage 18-fold," she said. In her words, about 40% of the overall number of HIV patients received anti-HIV therapy in 2016 and the figure is expected to go up to 55% in 2017.

The minister noted that the above-mentioned efforts have helped reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV transmission cases. "In 2016, we achieved a 1.7% result. It means that out of 15,980 babies born by HIV-infected mothers only 281 contracted HIV," the minister said, adding that the figure was five percent in 2012.

Notably, according to Skvortsova, most of the HIV-infected women who gave birth to HIV-infected babies were migrants from the former Soviet republics who came to Russia with the intention of giving birth to a child, for the so-called childbirth tourism.

The nationwide Stop HIV/AIDS campaign kicked off at a Moscow students’ forum on Monday. Its organizers are the fund for socio-cultural initiatives under the Russian health ministry, Russia’s consumer rights watchdog and other agencies. The goal is to draw public attention to HIV-related problems in Russia.