Russian Ministry of Health hides HIV mortality statistics

Sasha Levin – ENPUD

In 2018, more than 20,000 people in Russia died of AIDS, and this number continues to grow, according to a report published on the website of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation. This information is no longer available, because immediately after publication on its website the Ministry of Health of Russia deleted the report.

What recent statistics show

According to this report, more than 20,000 means an increase of 2.2% in comparison with 2017. The total number of AIDS-related deaths in Russia is increasing. Last year this number was already 1.1%, and in 2018, 85,995 new HIV cases were registered in Russia. Moreover, the incidence of men is 83% higher than women, and most people (39%), who were diagnosed with the disease for the first time, were aged 35–44 years.

According to the lowest estimates of Rospotrebnadzor (Federal service for supervision in the field of protection of consumer rights and human well-being), 1,007,369 people live with HIV in Russia today, not 896,000, as the Russian Ministry of Health claims in report. The ministry is known for constantly underestimating the number of people living with HIV. At the same time, according to statistics of Rospotrebnadzor, in 2018 treatment coverage was only 42.4% of all HIV-positive patients. According to the data that was removed from the ministry’s website, the average age of death of an HIV-positive Russian is quite young – 38 years. In total, during the epidemic for 31 years in the country 318,000 people died from AIDS.

Reluctance of government to deal with the HIV epidemic

The deletion of real HIV statistics shows only one thing – the reluctance and inability of government agencies to deal with the growing HIV epidemic in Russia. At the same time, the state continues to prohibit non-governmental organizations from working in this area. How many more people must be infected and die in order for the Russian government to pay attention to this problem? This question is still open.

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