HIV rate is 12% up in Russia in 2012

Over 500,000 people in Russia are HIV positive, and more than a half of new infections were contracted through injections of narcotics.

"Russia has 617,018 HIV positive residents. A total of 62,865 people were tested HIV positive in the first ten months of 2012, which is 12.5 percent more than last year. HIV cases were reported from all constituents of the Russian Federation," Russian chief public health official Gennady Onishchenko said in a letter sent to heads of regional departments of the Federal Consumer Rights and Healthcare Supervisory Service. The service's website posted the letter.

"The main source of HIV infection in this country is injections of narcotics with non-sterile syringes - 56.2 percent of all cases. Homosexual relationships rank second, 41.4 percent," Onishchenko said.

Sixty-four percent of HIV positive Russians are male. "The HIV/AIDS mortality rate is growing. Russia has had 125,557 HIV/AIDS deaths by now. The mortality rate grew by 14 percent year-on-year in January-October 2012," he said.

"The sickness rate is the highest in the age group of 30 to 40," the letter said.

"The UN estimates the number of HIV positive people at 34.2 million. Not a single country has been spared disastrous consequences of the global epidemics," the letter said.

World AIDS Day is marked on Dec. 1. "World AIDS Day 2012 has the theme 'Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.' The UN-led campaign will last until 2015," the letter said.

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