Russia witnesses 10 percent rise in HIV cases in 2011

Russia witnesses 10 percent rise in HIV cases in 2011Moscow, Dec 1 - Russia has witnessed a rise in the number of HIV cases in 2011 in comparison to the cases recorded during corresponding period last year.

Russia registered 48,363 new cases of HIV infection from January to October; almost 10 percent more than recorded during the same period last year, Xinhua quoted health officials as saying Wednesday.

Vadim Pokrovsky, chief of the Russian federal AIDS research centre, said new HIV infection cases in Russia might top 62,000 by the year-end.

The country's highest infection rate was registered in the Irkutsk region, where 1.3 percent of the population were HIV-infected, said Pokrovsky, adding that the situation in the Samara and Leningrad regions and the Khanty-Mansi autonomous area were also serious.

Irkutsk region is located in the southern part of Eastern Siberia. While Samara is Russia's sixth largest city and Leningrad is a federal subject of the country.

"Russia has an extremely unfavourable HIV situation. In the meantime, in the United States and Western Europe the number of new cases has been shrinking," Pokrovsky was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

Due to the fact that the most infected group is men aged 25-35, Pokrovsky advised all young men to undergo HIV tests.

He estimated the number of new infection cases in Russia will double in five years.

As of Nov 1 (2011), Russia had a total of 636,976 confirmed cases of HIV infection, including 104,257 patients who have already died. (IANS)