HIV Threatens Russian Economy
Posted by pozlife on October 27, 2007
Government inaction on AIDS and a lack of public awareness are putting Russia in “terrible, terrible danger,” Richard Holbrooke said Thursday in Moscow. “I’m terribly sorry to say this is not a political statement,” said the former US ambassador to the UN. Holbrooke now heads the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GBC) – an alliance of 220 international companies – and he made his remarks at a conference organized by the coalition.
Russia’s official count of 390,000 HIV cases is thought by international experts to be a vast underestimate; they believe a more accurate figure would be almost 1.6 million cases. That number is anticipated to grow 30 percent by 2010. GBC says 80 percent of Russia’s HIV cases are ages 15-30, making AIDS a huge threat to the nation’s economic viability.
Ninety percent of HIV-positive people in Russia and Ukraine will learn they are infected only once they progress to an AIDS diagnosis, Holbrooke said. “Over the next few years, they will be spreading it unintentionally, and on, and on, and on. It’s a bottomless pit.”
Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner, who moderated the meeting, lamented the absence of prominent Russian business leaders. “They did not come because they were not told [by the authorities] to come. Otherwise, they would have come,” he said.
[This summary provided by the CDC National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention | Associated Press | Oct. 25, 2007]