Russia: Women Hit Hard by HIV/AIDS

Journalists Sophia Jones and Anna Nemtsova investigate the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia, where an estimated 1 to 1.5 million people are HIV-positive. The rate of new HIV infections has increased by more than 130 percent over the last decade. It seems that the Kremlin has lost control of the growing epidemic.

Russian authorities have long rejected help from international HIV/AIDS organizations and labeled some as “foreign agents.” Instead of ramping up funding to tackle the issue, Russia’s Finance Ministry reportedly rejected a $1.2 billion dollar, four-year-plan to provide antiretrovirals and slow the virus’ spread.

Efforts to tackle the virus among women have proved particularly difficult. Sophia and Anna traveled to Moscow and the Volga and Siberia regions to explore the alarming rise in HIV/AIDS, particularly among young women and expectant mothers, the state’s implicit or complicit role in the spread of infection via drugs and needles, and the gender dimensions of that mode of infection.

They report on why women are being left behind in terms of diagnosis and treatment, highlighting potential solutions to the HIV epidemic that are backed by research and have potential to scale.

The Drug Decimating Russia’s Women

Designer drugs called ‘bath salts’ in the U.S. are dangerous to Americans, but addiction is epidemic among Russians, especially women. Many shoot up, and many contract HIV/AIDS.