Deaths related to HIV and AIDS are on the decline around the world, including the US. But in Russia, death rates linked to HIV and AIDS are rising at an alarming rate.
In Russia, part of the problem seems to be that the government won't fund prevention methods that have brought down HIV and AIDS rates in other countries. As Bloomberg reported, Russia refuses to fund clean needle exchange and methadone programs that help reduce the kind of dirty needle use that is more likely to spread HIV.
Russia is also notoriously anti-gay. One of the major hurdles toward stopping HIV, according to public health advocates, is diminishing the stigma attached to LGBT people and the disease. "There's issues around stigma and homophobia," Amy Lansky, an HIV researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in July. "That might deter some young men from seeking HIV prevention services and testing."
Some of these issues apply to the US as well. Even as deaths decline, the number of young gay and bisexual men diagnosed with the disease is trending up. Public health advocates hope to bring down those rates by encouraging safer sex practices, reducing risky drug use, and educating the public to raise awareness and diminish stigma attached to the disease.