Russian Health Ministry defunds federal AIDS prevention center
Russia’s Health Ministry has informed the Federal Center for the Prevention and Control of the Spread of AIDS that it won’t be receiving medicines for its operations this year.
In a letter obtained by the newspaper Kommersant, the Health Ministry argues that the anti-AIDS center is part of Rospotrebnadzor, the federal government’s consumer rights protection service, and thus lacks any “public healthcare functions.” The Health Ministry’s 2017 budget contains no funding for any of Rospotrebnadzor’s medical facilities.
Natalya Ladnaya, a senior researcher at the anti-AIDS center, told Kommersant that her organization currently has enough medicine to treat patients until August 2017. The center’s 1,200 patients are already being referred for dispensary observation in the areas where they are registered to live, she said.
Many of the federal center’s patients, however, aren’t registered anywhere, and they could be denied treatment by the city anti-AIDS center in Moscow, where courts have repeatedly ruled against unregistered patients who contest a lack of access to medication.
“It’s quite strange to deny medications to an organization that has spent 30 years working on a methodology to treat HIV infections in Russia,” Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the federal center, told Kommersant in an interview. “We first started treating HIV in 1987. We have a license to conduct therapeutic activity.”
In May 2017, Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the Federal Center for the Prevention and Control of the Spread of AIDS, said that the number of HIV infections spiked by 104,000 cases in 2016, though Russia’s Health Ministry officially acknowledged only 87,000 new cases. There are currently about 871,000 people in Russia receiving treatment for HIV, and the county’s total HIV-infected population is soon expected to reach 1.4 million people.