The Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation has refuted the data of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), according to which Russia is in fifth place in the world in terms of the spread of HIV infection. According to the statistics of organizations, at the end of 2021, the Russian Federation accounted for 3.9% of the 1.5 million new cases of infection in the world. In first place is South Africa (14% of all new cases), followed by Mozambique (6.5%), Nigeria (4.9%) and India (4.2%).
“The mass media have allegedly published UNAIDS data, which include the Russian Federation in the top five countries in the world in terms of the spread of HIV infection, which is not true and is another propaganda provocation directed against our country.
The data cited by the author of the original publication, without verification, circulated by other media, arbitrarily and biasedly interpret figures from various sources that accumulate information on the spread of the HIV / AIDS epidemic over different years of observation, ”the website of the Russian Ministry of Health says.
However, these data are based on the statistics of the Ministry of Health itself. This is very easy to verify, simply considering that 3.9% of 1.5 million is 58.5 thousand new cases. These are the figures a month ago cited by the chief freelance specialist on HIV infection of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Medical Sciences Alexei Mazus - 58,788 people infected with HIV for the first time in Russia over the past year.
Moreover, we recall that many experts suspect the Ministry of Health of underestimating the figures for HIV. In particular, Rospotrebnadzor's HIV incidence rate has long been an order of magnitude higher. Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Specialized Research Department of AIDS Epidemiology and Prevention, explains this by saying that Rospotrebnadzor considers everyone who has antibodies to HIV (including those who took the test anonymously), and the Ministry of Health considers only those who applied for medical help to state institutions and presented his passport and SNILS. In early November, a representative of Rospotrebnadzor said that 1.5 million citizens, or 1% of the population, are currently infected (while in the Ministry of Health this figure is 851,754 cases). The Ministry of Health immediately rushed to refute Pokrovsky's data, saying that they "are not verifiable, are of a technical, evaluative nature and cannot serve as objective indicators reflecting the current epidemiological situation."
Meanwhile, as Ksenia Babikhina, an analyst at the Need Help Foundation and the To Be Precise project, notes, the Ministry of Health has been giving plus or minus one number of cases for several years in a row - about 850 thousand people. At the same time, she says, there are also inconsistencies in the data of the Ministry of Health: for example, the State HIV Strategy states that at the end of 2019, 743.2 thousand people with HIV infection were under dispensary observation, according to the Federal Register. This figure differs from the data of the statistical form 61 of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Information on HIV infection) on the number of people registered at the dispensary at the end of 2019, where only 662 thousand people were indicated.