Some experts predict that heterosexual sex may soon overtake injecting drug use as the main means of HIV transmission.13 This means the HIV epidemic may be shifting from mainly affecting key populations including people who inject drugs, sex workers, prisoners and men who have sex with men, to affecting the general population.14 Russia has the highest number of people who inject drugs in the region (1.8 million) - about 2.3% of the adult population.15 Between 18% and 31% of people who inject drugs are thought to be living with HIV.16 A 2015 survey of people who inject drugs conducted in five Russian cities (Abakan, Barnaul, Volgograd, Naberezhnye Chelny and Perm) found that one in three people who inject drugs were living with HIV.17 Women who inject drugs are marginalised and particularly vulnerable to violence.A study released in 2016 of a group of Russian HIV-positive women who inject drugs reported that almost a quarter (24.1%) had been forced to have sex with a police officer.If you don’t have money, there are still basically no options.- The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis withdrew its grant to Russia in 2010, in large part because Russia had achieved high-income country status.22 Women, especially young women, face multiple challenges and barriers to accessing HIV services, such as stigma, discrimination, gender stereotypes, barriers to sexual and reproductive health, and violence.23 Encouragingly, mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is currently one of Russia’s success stories.In 2016, the government announced it had achieved a 98% success rate in stopping mother-to-child transmission.Petersburg and Orenburg, rape during sex work was reported by 64% of respondents.
However, although the “rehabilitation, social adaptation and social support” of key affected populations is discussed, no national programmes are outlined.4041 Russia does provide access to certain harm reduction services.
In January 2016, Russia reached its millionth case of HIV.
Currently, there are around 850,000 people thought to be living with HIV,6 although it is estimated that at least another 500,000 cases have gone undiagnosed.7 An additional 220,000 people have died of AIDS-related illnesses since the mid 1980s, when the virus was first reported in the country.8 Although the Russian government has collected extensive epidemiological data on HIV since 1987 9 official data remains under reported.10 While a lack of data is a problem, it is clear that evidence-based policies would save many lives.
Many who went to the infirmary never left except in a pine box because their medications didn't work anymore.
25 In 2015, there were around 656,600 prisoners in Russia.