More Focused Prevention Measures, Improved Access To Treatment Critical To Curb Growing HIV Epidemic In Russian Federation
PLOS Medicine: The expanding epidemic of HIV-1 in the Russian Federation
Chris Beyrer, professor at the Center for Public Health and Human Rights in the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and colleagues
“…The continuous growth of the Russian HIV epidemic is a failure of public policy and practice. The current list of interventions with demonstrable efficacy in reducing HIV spread and improving treatment outcomes includes opioid agonist substitution therapy, needle and syringe exchanges, treatment as prevention, preexposure prophylaxis, and tailored interventions for key populations including [people who inject drugs (PWID)], [men who have sex with men (MSM)], sex workers, prisoners, and migrants. In the [Russian Federation (RF)], all of these interventions are either not available or are unavailable at the scale necessary to control HIV. This is a true public health crisis and one that could largely have been avoided. Unless evidence-based prevention measures aimed at the most at-risk population groups are brought to scale in the RF, and unless access to treatment is significantly increased for all HIV-infected people, the likelihood of greater HIV incidence, and consequently greater AIDS morbidity and mortality, will only increase” (11/28).