A human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic has been officially declared in Yekaterinburg, said Deputy Head of Yekaterinburg's Health Department Tatyana Savinova in an interview with news source Ura.ru.
The city has recorded 26,693 cases of the HIV infection, with roughly 1 out of every 50 people being a carrier. Of these carriers, 774 are children, 342 of whom have been diagnosed with HIV.
These are only the cases that are officially known, said Savinova, stressing that the real incidence is even higher.
The Sverdlovsk Region, of which Yekateringburg is the capital, take first place in Russia in the number of cases of HIV per hundred thousand inhabitants.
According to the local health department, in 52 percent of the cases, the virus was transmitted due to drug use; in 46 percent of cases, the virus was transmitted through sexual contact. However, doctors say that the sharp increase the virus's prevalence in recent years can be attributed to sexual transmission.
"It is a myth that HIV transmission occurs only young and addicts; we are seeing an increased prevalence in older age groups, in those of 30-39 and 40-49," said Savinova. "When the infection appeared amongst a more prosperous social [class], it became more intensively disseminated."
Commenting on the HIV epidemic in the city of Post, the speaker of Yekaterinburg's parliament Evgeny Roizman wrote on his tweeter: "there are no illusions, this situation is a common one the country. We are simply working on detection and are not afraid to talk about it."
In January 2016, the head of Russia's federal research center for the AIDS prevention Vadim Pokrovsky said that 1 million people were officially registered as being infected with HIV in Russia.
According to the research center, since the first instance of HIV was registered in Russia in 1987, about 205,000 HIV-infected people in Russia died for various reasons.