MOSCOW, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The World Health Organization warned Thursday that reported HIV cases in Europe and Central Asia are increasing dramatically.
The virus, which causes AIDS, infected 136,235 people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia last year, an 80 percent increase over 2012, the WHO and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported, adding 80,000 of those cases were in Russia. Previously, Eastern Europe and Central Asia reported annual declines in AIDS cases in the past decade.
"(The) HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is growing rapidly and becomes irreversible in many ways. The number of newly diagnosed cases of HIV infection has been growing, the number of HIV-infected patients with manifestations of AIDS has been growing as well," Russia's Federal Scientific and Methodological Center for Prevention and Control of AIDS said Thursday.
The comments from the agencies came in anticipation of World AIDS Day, Dec. 1. The Russian news agency Tass said 0.5 percent of the Russian population, or one in 200 people, is infected with the virus, with higher percentages in cities and among younger adults. "One percent of the population, for example in St. Petersburg, refers to officially registered infected people, but if we take the age group where they are the majority, then there are about five percent of young men there. That is, every 20th person has HIV," said Vadim Pokrovsky, a Russian Academy of Sciences professor, told the Russian news service Interfax. "Dear women, keep it in mind that the probability of marrying an HIV-positive man is very high."