Aids in Russia
Not to leave behind in Asia too the incidences of HIV infections showed a sharp rise along with certain countries of the former Soviet Union1. Today the situation is no good the global figure has crossed 37.8 million, of which 17 million are women and 2.1 million are children below 15 years3.
In a report published in November 2005, the Moscow News stated that more than 330,000 AIDS cases were registered in Russia and an estimated 600,000 to 1 million are HIV carriers as stated by Viktor Pokrovsky in an offsite session held by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe commission for health and AIDS in Russia. Further Viktor Pokrovsky added that AIDS was on the rise in Siberia, Khanty-Mansiisk, the Urals and Irkutsk regions2. In a report published in April 2005, Olga Sharapova a senior official from the Health and Social Development Ministry stated that approximately 13,000 Russian children tested HIV positive3.
The spread of AIDS in Russia is mainly through sharing of non- sterile or contaminated needles of intravenous drug users (IDUs) leading to fresh HIV infections, 60 percent of cases are due to IDUs. Statistics showed a 22 fold rise between 1998 and 2002 among the pregnant Russian women, if the trend goes unchecked than by 2008, one in 25 Russians would be HIV positive4. Governments of US and UK along with the academic institutions are supporting the vaccine research related activities delving into various questions such as, who are the people infected Rapidity of spread of infection, How are the people getting infected i.e., transmission routes and Types (Clades) of HIV found in Russia etc4,
The first "8 Plus Clinic" at the Biomedical Center in St. Petersburg has taken up studies which are co funded by the US HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) enrolling 520 HIV negative IDUs. "International partners are also hoping to strengthen Russian vaccine manufacturing capacity. One project aims to convert former bio-weapons facilities to medicine and vaccine production".4 But projects such as these are rare, since the annual spending for AIDS related work in Russia was just US $ 5.5 million in contrast to the US spending of about US $ 15 billion in 2002.4
Financial constraint is no more a primary barrier in Russia with two large GFATM (Global Fund to Fight AIDS,TB and Malaria) grants approved with US $34 million approved for Phase 1 (the initial two years) to begin in September 2005 focusing mainly on AIDS treatment, care and support, including the ART (Antiretroviral Treatment) provision. Russian presidential administration also announced that US $ 107 million stabilization fund for use in the year 2006 basically for HIV/AIDS treatment.5
In the year 2004 the annual cost of a first-line ART regimen in Russia fell to US $ 1,800 per patient annually in comparison US $ 12,000 in 2003 all this due to drug pricing requirements established by GFATM5.
Dr Calzavara a member of Canada AIDS Russia Project (CARP) has adapted the Polaris study in Russian context to trace the growth of HIV, thus revealing 30,124 new infections in Russia in 2003 – this information being vital for effective prevention and