Russia’s Reluctant Response

Evidence indicates that Russia’s HIV epidemic is “uncontrolled and worsening”—a public health crisis marked by a failure of public policy and practice, according to Chris Beyrer of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-authors.

New infections increased 5% from 2015-2016, and reported diagnoses climbed above 1.16 million infections by mid-2017—with actual infections “doubtless substantially higher.” And until Russia embraces proven interventions such as opioid substitution therapy, needle exchanges, treatment as prevention, and a focus on at-risk groups, the epidemic will likely grow, they write.

“It is disturbing that deaths are rising rapidly in an upper middle-income country that could, and should, be doing much better in the provision of prevention, treatment, care, and support for its citizens,” they conclude.

PLOS Medicine

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