A new virulent strain of HIV is spreading quickly through Russian regions. The number of HIV-positive residents in the Novosibirsk Region of Russia has increased greatly within the past five years - nearly 13,000 new cases. The strain was first reported in 2006 and now makes up nearly 50 percent of all Russian HIV infections.
The strain has been detected in Chechnya, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as well. Central Asia and Eastern Europe are the only regions of the world where HIV infections are significantly rising, according to the United Nations. The rapid spread of this strain is alarming to health workers. Although HIV can be managed with antiretroviral therapy, the virus is incurable. Patients may be able to live a long life with proper care, but they will still have the virus and be able to spread it to others.
A need for comprehensive sexual education is widespread in Russia. Sex education is rarely offered in Russian schools and STD prevention and awareness campaigns are few and far between. Sexually active individuals should be tested for STDs regularly. Although using protection helps prevent transmission it is not 100 percent effective and it is important to know the risks of sexual activity as well as one’s sexual health status.