Saturday, October 25, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS Download APP
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

19th Century Portraits

History of St. Petersburg Museum: Rumyantsev Mansion

 

Перевести на русский Перевести на русский Print this article Print this article

Drug Use Rate Stabilizes, HIV Numbers Rise

Published: July 2, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • The main cause for the high incidence of HIV cited in the report was intravenous drug use, although experts also noted that there had been a rise in the spread of HIV from unprotected sex.
    Photo: Melissa Wiese / Flickr

The number of addicts in Russia has stabilized for the first time in decades, the country’s drug agency head said June 25, but figures showing a sharp spike in the incidence of HIV suggest the battle against drug abuse is far from over.

Head of the Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov, told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview published June 26 that the number of addicts in Russia had previously increased by more than 3 million people over a five-year period, and the number of drug-related deaths had been increasing by 5,000 to 6,000 annually.

“For the first time, the situation with drug addiction has given grounds for cautious optimism,” Ivanov said, without specifying figures for this year.

The number of drug-related deaths in the country has also stopped growing, though nearly 100,000 people still die from drug abuse each year, Ivanov said.

The drug agency head said the reduction was especially significant considering drugs have become more available, with his agency estimating about 30 tons of heroin alone — or more than 100 million single doses — are smuggled into Russia each year, Ivanov said.

Ivanov’s optimism coincided with the release of a report by the country’s health watchdog warning that the rate of HIV infection was continuing to increase rapidly.

According to the report, published June 25, as of Jan. 1 this year, there were 798,122 Russians registered as HIV-positive. More than 7,500 of those infected were children.

In 2013, Roskomnadzor recorded nearly 78,000 new cases of HIV infection among Russian citizens, the report said. In 2012, that figure was at only 69,000, and in 2011 — 62,000.

“Russians living with a positive HIV diagnosis make up 0.4 percent of the population. In other regions — Irkutsk, Samara, the Sverdlovsk region, St. Petersburg — HIV infection surpasses 1 percent,” the report said.

The main cause for the high incidence of HIV cited in the report was intravenous drug use, although experts also noted that there had been a rise in the spread of HIV from unprotected sex.

The rate of infection among foreigners living in Russia was also a cause for concern, the report said, adding that in 2013, the percentage of tuberculosis and HIV infection among foreigners had spiked dramatically.

In accordance with Russian law, foreigners are required to take an HIV test before they are granted a Russian visa and the presence of an infectious disease gives authorities grounds to deport them.

Amid a dire shortage of drug rehab clinics in the country — and the staggering rates charged by many of those that are available — Ivanov argued that addicts who seek recovery still had access to more than 500 rehab clinics.

He did not specify how many of those might be free or affordable to a majority of drug users.

“One can’t say that this is a lot, but it is not too few either,” he said. “Another thing is that the state has no obligations to [those clinics]. Their work is not financed and not controlled.”





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



Times Talk