13 Oct 2023 20:01

Russia's HIV cases surpass 1.5 mln in 40 years, 450,000 have died - health specialist

MOSCOW. Oct 13 (Interfax) - The number of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Russia since it began to spread 40 years ago has exceeded 1.5 million, of whom 450,000 have died, a leading epidemiologist has said.

"Regrettably, the virus continues to spread in Russia. By our estimate, it has been spreading for some 40 years now at least. The first patients were those who arrived in Russia in 1981-1982. Since then some 1.5 million Russians have contracted HIV, more now, [as] this year's data show. And more than 450,000 of them have died," Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the scientific research department of epidemiology and AIDS prevention at consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor's Central Research Institute of Epidemiology, said at a conference to mark the institute's 60th anniversary.

The spread of HIV in 2022 has cost the economy over 250 billion rubles, he said. "Over the year, losses rose by 50 billion compared with 2021," Pokrovsky said.

"Its spread continues [...] it is incurable, and any treatment only prevents the development of aggravated forms," he said.