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Google Searches for HIV Tests Soar by 5,000% After Russian Blogger’s Doc

Almost 8 million people viewed Dud’s HIV documentary in the 48 hours since it went online Tuesday. Moskva News Agency

Russians flocked to Google for information about HIV tests after an influential YouTuber’s documentary shed light on the scale of the country’s HIV epidemic this week.

Journalist Yury Dud’s two-hour documentary addresses what he refers to as an ignored issue that “affects each and every one” of his millions of subscribers. Almost 8 million people viewed Dud’s HIV documentary in the 48 hours since it went online Tuesday.

“We filmed this episode to add knowledge and make life a little easier for those with HIV,” Dud says in the video.

The number of searches for Russian-language terms relating to HIV tests was up by a combined 5,500% around the world by Wednesday evening, according to a Google Trends screenshot shared by Ukrainian HIV campaigner Inna Gavrilova. She attributes the spike in users’ interest to Dud’s popularity.

HIV was Russia’s second-most-searched term on Tuesday, the day Dud’s documentary came out. 

More than 1 million people in Russia live with HIV and a record 37,000 people died from HIV-related illnesses there in 2019.

The World Health Organization warned that Russia risked developing an out-of-control HIV epidemic after data showed a record number of new cases in 2017. Most came from heterosexual sex as the disease spread outside high-risk groups.

Russia’s Health Ministry has argued that the increase in Russia's HIV-positive population indicates that fewer people die from complications linked with the disease.

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