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According to UNAIDS report The Russian Federation (Russia) recorded the third highest number of HIV cases in the world. The countries with higher numbers are South African Republic and Nigeria.
The Russian Federal AIDS center informs that there have been reported more than 98,000 new HIV infections in 2015 and rate that is growing approximately 10 percent a year. In January 2016 country reached its millionth case of HIV.
According to the experts, one of the reasons of the growth of HIV cases is doubtful government’s policy and government’s focus on other issues. This is an abandoned problem. Statistics show that HIV cases are no longer underprivileged people’s and addict’s trouble. People get infected by injecting drugs (more than half of the newly diagnosed people’s cases) and other part of infections occurred through heterosexual sex. Moreover, more children are born with HIV.
The situation of HIV is being watched in fifteen regions of Russia. It became more than a health sector’s problem, because the HIV infection had a huge impact on demography, fertility, productivity of the economy.
Russia has hit the rock bottom. The fact, that there are millions of people diagnosed with HIV, had to open the eyes even for the most stubborn and close-minded people. HIV infection spread quickly and widely, so authorities finally started to realize how serious this issue is and they started to at least discuss it. One of the solutions that the country came up with are needle and syringe programs – giving away clean and unused syringe, needles. With those programs it is aimed not to stop the drug use, but to help addicts not to get AIDS.
Despite the growing number of HIV cases, Russia is not increasing the amount of medication accessible to the society. Every year only around 338 million dollars go to Russia’s HIV fond, which is just a 5th of what is needed to solve the problem. Also, almost none of it funds sexual education programs. To compare situation to the rest of the world, United States of America in 2017 spent 32 billion dollars on the budget for HIV/AIDS.
Moreover, there is a suggestion to establish international HIV Research Committee which would help to effectively control the virus. According to scientists, one of the most efficient ways to fight the spread of infection would be to perform strategies for HIV hybridization monitoring. Furthermore, in 2016 Russian Prime Minister approved new HIV strategy. It includes a focus on prevention programs.
Situation in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad Oblast is the part of Russia, often referred as the Kaliningrad region or simply Kaliningrad. It is located between Lithuania, Poland and Baltic Sea. During the World War 2, the area was occupied by the Soviet Union. In the 15th century the city Kaliningrad was an important place for Lithuanian culture, religion, education. On top of that the city faced the appearance of the first Lithuanian book.
When the Red Army attacked the city, it did not take long for it to get a new name. The city was called after a good friend of Joseph Stalin – Mikhail Kalinin. Also, Kaliningrad was one of the biggest Soviets’ military battalion next to the Baltic Sea.
Nowadays it is a huge warehouse. Everything there is cheaper than in Europe and other parts of Russia itself. Beer and vodka cost a third of what their prices are in Moscow. Kaliningrad became a great place to run contraband.
People living in Kaliningrad suffered through a lot of difficulties, starting with bad basic living conditions, corruption, contraband, ending with HIV.
These problems were seen by the whole Europe. Former Prime Minister of Sweden Göran Persson once said that everything that is wrong with the world can be found in Kaliningrad. All the badness includes huge pollution, AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and nuclear waste.
In the end of the 20th century and in the beginning of the 21st century, there were three times more cases of syphilis – harbinger of AIDS – in Kaliningrad than in the other parts of Russia. For wider comparison, there were hundred times more cases of the disease in Kaliningrad than in Germany.
At the time it looked like the Kaliningrad is done. The level of the economic development in the country was eight times smaller than in Poland. Furthermore, there were thirty times more cases of AIDS in Kaliningrad than in Lithuania.
Nowadays situation is a bit different. According to 2017 data, there are a bit less AIDS cases than before. Catastrophic situation that the country had in the last century stabilized a little and in the last years there have been less cases of the disease. On the contrary, in the other parts of Russia the situation got worse.