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Russia observed World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1
Russia observed World AIDS Day on Thursday, December 1. According to official statistics, the country has 305,000 HIV-infected /of more than 40 million HIV cases the world over/, but unofficial sources raise the figure to one million. HIV-infection killed 6,500 people in Russia and more than 40 million in the world. Virologists have been trying to develop a vaccine against AIDS for ten years, unsuccessfully so far. Nevertheless, the work continues. In the United States alone, the funding for the purpose reaches some 300 million dollars a year. An effective medication may appear in five to eight years, director of the republican center for preventive treatment and help to HIV-infected pregnant women and children Yevgeny Voronin said. Such a vaccine will bring down the host of viruses in a body to the minimum. An inoculated HIV-infected patient will not require any treatment for two to three years. At present, the vaccine is undergoing clinical tests. In Russia, HIV-infected mothers gave birth to 21,000 babies. Of those, 2,000 infants tested HIV-positive. Every third of 20 HIV infected mothers give up their parental rights, although a well-conceived therapy and skillful assistance helps to ensure safe childbirth, with healthy children in 99 percent of cases, according to Voronin. Meanwhile, Russia medics said they have the resources to defeat the HIV epidemic in the country. Chief sanitary physician Gennady Onishchenko said the “federal budget will issue in 2006 more than three billion roubles for this problem and local budgets will spend on it two billion roubles." Onishchenko stressed that “only 130 million roubles were allocated for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in 2005 and in all the previous years." Three thirds of the Russians consider it absolutely unacceptable for them to buy food from a HIV-infected seller or eat from the dishes, which have ever been used by an AIDS patient, Russian sociologists reported. The All-Russian Public Opinion Centre reports in a survey that half of the respondents are ready to take care of their relatives, if they happen to contract AIDS. The survey covered 1,600 people from 153 populated localities. Only from 7% to 12% of the polled are not afraid of contacting HIV-infected persons. Nearly 40% do mind if a HIV-carrier lives somewhere near compared to a quarter of respondents who said that it was absolutely impossible for them. One third of the respondents, according to the survey, are ready to work side by side with a HIV carrier. “In fact, the same number of the Russians are not delighted with this perspective,” the researchers said. On Thursday, Russia staged actions of solidarity with HIV-infected, in bid to draw the society's attention to the problem. The Moscow temple of Great Martyr St.Yekaterina in Bolshaya Ordynka Street held a prayer and a "round table" discussion over the establishment of a center for spiritual and medical assistances to AIDs victims. Taking part in the discussion were representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church and personnel from the United States Agency for International Development. A prayer was also held at the Trinity Temple in Khoroshevo, which assists HIV-infected. The Russian Church said the main cause of the disease is the loss of spiritual values. At the same time it calls for being merciful to the sick people. Medical authorities in Russia's Maritime Territory have reported more than 500 new HIV cases since the beginning of this year. As of now, the region has 6,100 HIV-infected, the largest number among other far eastern provinces. Most contacts are young people below 30 years of age. The number of HIV-infected pregnant women has increased dramatically to in the past few years. They gave birth to 340 children. A majority of HIV cases - more than 77 percent - are drug addicts. Irkutsk region allocated 80 million roubles to combat HIV/AIDS in 2006. The region has 18,900 HIV-infected, i.e. every 130th resident. The rate of the infection in Irkutsk has decreased, compared with the late 1990s. In the Altai territory, the rate of HIV infection decreased 5 percent in the first eight months of 2005. As of September 1, 2005, it had 3,503 registered HIV-cases. The figures were cited at a meeting between a delegation of UN agencies and head of the Moscow office of Britain's Department for International Development Jim Butler with the regional leadership. The UN representatives praised the Altai territory experience in combating and preventing AIDS and recommended other Russian provinces to use it.
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