Figure of the day: out of 1.1 million HIV-infected people in Russia, half do not receive treatment

Figure of the day: out of 1.1 million HIV-infected people in Russia, half do not receive treatment
Figure of the day: out of 1.1 million HIV-infected people in Russia, half do not receive treatment
17 May, 16:37Photo: 1MI
The all-Russian HIV strategy adopted in 2016 has not been implemented in five years

Ivan Zubov

2020 was the last year of the Russian HIV strategy adopted in 2016. The order of the government of the Russian Federation said that by 2020 the strategy will reduce the number of new cases of HIV infection. The data of the “To be precise” channel clearly shows that the strategy could not be implemented.

Russia ranks first in terms of the spread of HIV in Europe. At the end of 2021, at least 1.1 million Russians were living with HIV, of which almost half were not receiving treatment.

At the end of 2021, according to Rospotrebnadzor, there were 1,137,596 people living with HIV in Russia. The Ministry of Health uses other data: in 2018, the department gave a figure of 896,000 people with HIV in Russia. In May 2021, a freelance HIV specialist of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation announced 842 thousand people.

The number of new HIV cases has decreased - this was affected by the pandemic

According to a WHO report, in 2020, the year the pandemic began, the number of new HIV infections in the European region dropped sharply, by 24% compared to 2019. The authors of the report do not give a clear explanation for this, but point out that fewer people have been tested due to the pandemic. The authors of the study note that the number of people tested in Russia in 2020 has really fallen: about 40-41 million Russians are usually tested for antibodies to HIV every year. In 2020 - 6 million less (almost 15% less than in 2019).

Only half of people with HIV receive therapy

According to Rospotrebnadzor, in 2020, 53.2% of people living with HIV received antiretroviral therapy. To be precise, 47.8%. The target for the HIV strategy was treatment coverage of 38.3% if funding for procurement is not increased, and 90% if funding is increased. The pandemic has also affected access to therapy and examinations. People with HIV who remained abroad due to closed borders faced a lack of therapy. A similar situation is developing against the background of the "special operation" in Ukraine.

Almost half of people with HIV are not under constant medical supervision

Patients with HIV infection are not required to register, and Russian law prohibits forcing them to do so. By the end of 2020, it was planned that 90% of all people living with HIV will be registered. According to Rospotrebnadzor, the actual coverage was 70%, according to calculations - 57%.

The most disadvantaged regions for HIV in Russia

In 14 regions of Russia, we can talk about a generalized HIV epidemic, which means that HIV has gone beyond vulnerable groups and is firmly rooted in the general population.

An epidemic is considered generalized if the prevalence of HIV infection among pregnant women is consistently above one percent (during pregnancy, one of the mandatory tests is an HIV test).

According to Rospotrebnadzor, for the entire observation period (since 1987), by December 31, 2021, 232,285 live children were born in Russia from HIV-infected mothers, 12,107 of them had HIV infection confirmed (5.2%).

However, if a woman with HIV is on therapy and the therapy is effective, and preventive measures are followed and implemented during and after childbirth, the baby will be born without an HIV diagnosis.

It remains to add that at the end of 2020, the Government approved a new strategy to combat HIV - now until 2030.

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