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    UN CONCERNED OVER CONDITION OF HIV-INFECTED PEOPLE IN EASTERN EUROPE AND CIS

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    MOSCOW, February 17, 2004 (RIA Novosti) -- Only 7,000 out of 80,000 HIV-infected people in Eastern Europe and the CIS undergo the necessary treatment with anti-retrovirus medicines. This information was given in the regional report of the UN development program entitled "HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and the CIS: how to turn back the epidemic". Its presentation was held in the Russian Information Agency Novosti, Moscow, on Tuesday.

    According to special representative of the World Health Organisation in Moscow Miko Vienonen, "Russia has a large budget surplus, therefore, it can allocate more money on anti-AIDS programmes".

    Today the treatment with anti-retrovirus medicines costs $6,000-9,000 per person a year and $3,000 in Brazil, Vienonen said.

    "Our main task is to reduce therapy prices. It is difficult because each businessman would prefer to sell his product for $6,000, and not $3,000. Brazil has achieved great anti-epidemic success in this sphere," Miko Vienonen stressed.

    On his part, Konstantin Lezhentsev, an expert of the Open Society Institute (Budapest), said, "the struggle against AIDS and HIV should be moved from the sphere of healthcare to the sphere of political initiatives". "The government should start taking practical steps in this area," he noted.

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