News (World)

Russia HIV infection bucks trends as World AIDS Day marked

“For the last 20 years of the HIV epidemic that I’ve been involved in the Russian Federation, there was this sense that the epidemic doesn’t affect me. It doesn’t affect the average Russian. It only affects marginalized groups like injecting drug users and therefore is not something that is relevant or of concern for Russian society, or the average Russian person,” Vinay Saldanha, the director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told the AP.

Saldanha, however, is hopeful that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s recent remarks on the scale of the HIV epidemic in Russia could signal a change in the way the illness is perceived at the upper levels of the Russian government.

Malyshev was a bit more cautious about what the future might have in store for HIV activists.

“I’ve stopped making predictions,” he said. “There have been too many surprises in the past 20 years.”

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