More people have died from HIV-related causes in Russia last year than in 2017 as the country grapples with a rise in infections, according to Health Ministry data cited by the Kommersant business daily on Wednesday.
More than 1.2 million people live with HIV in Russia, a figure experts say is likely underreported and that the World Health Organization warns is at risk of spiraling out of control. A consumer watchdog report earlier this month said that HIV infections are on the rise and are increasingly affecting Russia’s older population.
Around 20,600 people have died from HIV-related causes in 2018, a 2.2% increase from 2017, according to data published by a Health Ministry institute and cited by Kommersant. The Moscow Times has been unable to verify the figures because the institute’s online report was inaccessible as of mid-Wednesday.
More than three-quarters of Russia’s HIV-related deaths (76.7%) were reportedly registered in the 25-44 age group.
“HIV infection at a young working age (18-44) is emerging as one of the leading causes of death,” the Russian ministry’s institute reportedly said.
The HIV epidemic has led to the deaths of an estimated 318,000 Russians since the first case was registered in 1987, the national consumer watchdog said two months ago.