Russian health minister points to significant slowdown in HIV cases in 2016

The HIV testing coverage increased in 2016 by 13 percent, according to the Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova.

The HIV testing coverage increased in 2016 by 13 percent, according to the Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova.

Sergey Venyavsky / RIA Novosti
The number of new cases 'reduced dramatically' to 86,600

The number of new HIV cases in Russia noticeably slowed down in 2016, Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said on May 15, TASS reports.

"The number of new cases reduced dramatically in 2016, to 86,600," she said, adding that a year before the number of new HIV cases had exceeded 100,000. Apart from that, she said HIV testing coverage increased in 2016 by 13 percent. The anti-HIV therapy coverage of infected patients rose as well.

"In the past ten years, we expanded the anti-HIV therapy coverage 18-fold," she said. In her words, about 40 percent of the overall number of HIV patients received anti-HIV therapy in 2016 and the figure is expected to go up to 55 percent in 2017. The minister noted that the above-mentioned efforts have helped reduce the number of mother-to-child HIV transmission cases.

"In 2016, we achieved a 1.7 percent result. It means that out of 15,980 babies born by HIV-infected mothers only 281 contracted HIV," the minister said, adding that the figure was five percent in 2012.

Notably, according to Skvortsova, most of the HIV-infected women who gave birth to HIV-infected babies were migrants from the former Soviet republics who came to Russia with the intention of giving birth to a child, for the so-called 'childbirth tourism.' 

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