Every week in Russia between 2,000 and 3,000 people become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, Vadim Pokrovski, in charge of the Federal Anti-AIDS Center, told a RIA Novosti press conference on Thursday. In official statistics, the number of HIV-infected people in Russia will reach 200,000 before the end of 2001, Vadim Pokrovski said. The real figure can be five times more, about one million, he added. He reported that 1,730 HIV-infected people have already died in Russia. By 2005-2010 we will have "heaps of them", he warned. To Pokrovski, 10,000 dollars is required for the medical treatment of an AIDS case every year. In several years to come the treatment of all AIDS-deceased will cost as much as Russia's national budget. He warned that funding for the AIDS programmes "is not corresponding to the threat inherent in AIDS". In the opinion of Vadim Pokrovski, the problem of spread of AIDS in Russia is to be tackled by entire society, including political leaders and not only professional medics. It is not accidental that this year the World Anti-AIDS Day, marked on December 1, will pass under the watchword I Care, Do You?, said Vadim Pokrovski.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated