Why Russians Reject Treatment

Just 41% of HIV+ Russians are taking antiretroviral therapies—some of the lowest rates anywhere.
 
While Russia doesn’t lack resources to fight its spiraling HIV epidemic, thriving misinformation campaigns mean many Russians deny their diagnosis, and reject treatment.
 
Until she fell pregnant, Svetlana Sumina and her husband “both believed all that nonsense you hear on TV and the internet,” she said—like Cold War-era conspiracy theories suggesting HIV is a US bioweapon.
 
Long complicit in misinformation campaigns, the Russian government has now introduced a bill promising to prosecute misinformation campaigns.  
 
But activists remain the heart of the fight, taking to YouTube to counter conspiracy theories.

The Los Angeles Times
 

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