Russia to borrow $50 from World Bank for anti-AIDS action

Russia plans to fight AIDS with $50 million worth of a World Bank borrowing for a term of five years at the 8-percent rate, said Vadim Pokrovsky, chief of the federal anti-AIDS centre, at a Moscow press-conference.

In 2002, the sum earmarked for anti-AIDS efforts under a federal programme amounted to 185 million roubles (one USD equals 32 roubles). As to preventive measures, allocations made merely 30 million roubles, that is 20 kopecks per Russian.

Meanwhile, one is to spend $50-70 million a year to prevent an epidemic, said Pokrovsky. Besides, $880 million are required for preventing AIDS development in HIV-infected people who, according to official data, make 220,500 people in Russia. Pokrovsky does not rule out that the actual figure has already reached 1 million.

In the opinion of Pokrovsky, the Russian AIDS death toll will hit half a million people by 2010.

He also cited some World Health Organisation statistics on the global AIDS situation: there are 42 million HIV-infected people; over 3 million died of AIDS in 2002.