The Russian Federation
The Russian Republic either doesn’t track or doesn’t publish reliable figures for HIV among its 144,300,000 inhabitants. Thus, all the figures here must be estimates, and those vary widely.
Russia has the largest HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with ca. 1,500,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV)—the majority of all European HIV cases. It is the world’s only region where HIV infections are rising, up by 149% since 2006. It had 98,200 new cases in 2015, and largely accounts for the total increase of European cases. 37% of adult people living with HIV (PLHIV) are getting Antiretroviral therapy (ART).
People who inject drugs (PWID) account for 58% of HIV transmission. Other key populations include sex workers, prisoners and men who have sex with men (MSM). However, the rate from heterosexual sex is rising, so the epidemic may be shifting into a larger population. Women account for more than 38% of new cases, and rising.
HIV and men who have sex with men (MSM) are widely stigmatized in Russia, and punitive laws discourage people from seeking out necessary services.
(Estimates from AVERT, 2016)
To harbor HIV within you while living in a hostile environment… it would require a lot from anyone. And then to emerge stronger, to be able to create a much better future from such a gloomy past; to stay optimistic and hopeful of a better tomorrow — that takes rare courage, determination, and self-respect.
Svetlana lives with her daughters and her mother in Moscow. She’s upbeat, open, warm, full of positive energy, and working on a better future.
I have no doubt she’ll succeed.