Head of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences: There may be 1.5 million HIV-infected people in Russia

As of May 22, 2003, 3,303 people have died of AIDS in Russia. Another 241,266 people have been officially registered as HIV-infected, President of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences Valentin Pokrovsky said at parliamentary hearings, Legislative Provision and Development of Medical Science, in the State Duma on Monday.

Pokrovsky stressed that the estimated number of HIV-infected people was much larger and, some experts believe, makes 500,000 to 1.5 million. In some cities, such as Irkutsk (Siberia) or Toliatti (Volga area), Pokrovsky said, the number of HIV-infected makes 1% of the population.

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2002 there were 42 million HIV-infected people in the world, with 5 million of them infected right that year. In 2002, 3.1 million people died of AIDS.

Participants of the hearings have instructed the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Russian Health Ministry to consider the establishment of a research institute on HIV problems and new infections within the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences.

The State Duma has been recommended to work out norms that would allow the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences to remain a major manager of budgetary means allocated for the development of medical science.

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