HIV Transmission and Injection Drug Use in Russia

"In 2002, an estimated 93 percent of persons registered by the government as HIV positive since the beginning of the epidemic were injection drug users. In contrast, in 2002 an estimated 12 percent of new HIV transmission was sexual -- that figure climbed to 17.5 percent in the first half of 2003 -- indicating the foothold that the epidemic is gaining in the general population. The European Centre for the Epidemiological Monitoring of AIDS (EuroHIV), a center affiliated with the World Health Organization, noted that HIV prevalence may have 'reached saturation levels in at least some of the currently affected drug user populations' in eastern Europe, including in Russia, but cautioned against complacency 'as new outbreaks could still emerge among injection drug users…, particularly within the vast expanse of the Russian Federation.' Rhodes and colleagues in a February 2004 article echo this conclusion, noting evidence of recent examples of severe HIV outbreaks among drug users in Russia."


Human Rights Watch, "Lessons Not Learned: Human Rights Abuses and HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation," (New York, NY: April 2004) Vol. 16, No. 5, p. 10.