Heterosexual contact is less risky per sex act than male homosexual contact, but in some places heterosexual sex is the most common means of HIV transmission. This has been true in some African countries — where prevalence of HIV can be well above 10% — for decades. But shockingly high rates of heterosexual spread of HIV are also being seen in India and Russia.
Some experts predict that heterosexual sex may soon overtake injecting drug use as the main means of HIV transmission.10 This means the HIV epidemic has the potential to shift from mainly affecting key populations to affecting the general population. If this happens, HIV prevalence could increase at a significantly faster rate.1 __ avert
The HIV epidemic in Russia appears to be slowly spreading into the populace at large, including more persons considered economically active — and increasing numbers age 50 and older. The problem is not considered a serious matter by the Russian Health Ministry.
Roughly 100,000 more Russians become infected with HIV every year, most through intravenous drug use but more and more of them apparently through heterosexual contact.
More than 1.2 million people live with HIV in Russia, a figure experts say is likely underreported and that the World Health Organization warns is at risk of spinning out of control. The crisis has led to the deaths of some 318,000 Russians since the first HIV case was registered three decades ago, with almost 37,000 of these deaths happening last year. __ https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/04/russias-hiv-epidemic-is-growing-affecting-older-citizens-watchdog-a66278
The HIV epidemic in Russia has a similar shape to those epidemics seen in sub Saharan Africa or in India. This is undoubtedly due to substandard health care that is offered to average citizens who cannot afford the expensive bribes that are required for high quality medical care in Russia today.
Travelers to Russia should be advised that HIV is “in the air” and to take extraordinary precautions when wandering off the reservation.
City-based data from 2012 suggests HIV prevalence among sex-workers is between 3.8% and 11.6%, depending on location. In 2015, it was estimated that around 15% of indoors sex workers and more than 60% of outdoor sex workers in St. Petersburg were living with HIV.31 Although it is not illegal to buy sex it is illegal to sell it and to organise commercial sex in any place. This criminalisation puts sex workers in a vulnerable position and they are often subject to violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation at the hands of clients, police officers, health workers and others in authority.32
In a study of almost 900 female sex workers conducted in St. Petersburg and Orenburg, rape during sex work was reported by 64% of respondents. Those who had experienced rape were more likely to inject drugs and binge on alcohol, both of which increases vulnerability to HIV. 33 __ avert
As they say, be careful out there. Life has not been kind to millions of unwanted children who have been cycled through cruel orphanages and then onto even crueler streets.
The third world is not always where you expect it. But the tragedy unfolds in much the same way regardless. It is best to be aware of what is happening, even though all too often it is impossible to make a difference for the better. Best, at least, not to make things worse.