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    AIDS-RELATED DEATH RATE MAY AFFECT RUSSIA'S ECONOMY, AIDS PREVENTION CENTRE CHIEF WARNS

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    MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) - The sharp rise in the AIDS-caused death rate in Russia in 2005-2008 may tell on the economic situation, believes Vadim Pokrovski, head of the Federal AIDS Prevention and Combating Centre.

    He told journalists on Thursday that, as of May 13, Russia had 280,437 AIDS-infected people. According to certain estimates, the figure may come up to 1.2 million, most of whom got infected in between 1995 and 2000. It is the opinion of Pokrovski that the death and incidence rate may soar in 2005-2008.

    "This may affect the economic situation because they are young and able-bodied people", he said.

    To him, the World Bank has given the Russian government a 50 million-dollar credit for five years for AIDS prevention. The Anti-AIDS Global Fund has allocated 80 million dollars for five years to the non-governmental organisations consortium. All told, about 20 million dollars can annually be spent on AIDS prevention.

    "Things are much worse as regards treatment. We and the World Health Organisation have calculated that in Russia approximately 50,000 people are in need of treatment, while only 2,000 are getting it", Pokrovski said.

    He noted the high cost of such treatment in comparison with that in other countries.

    Russia has developed original anti-AIDS preparations, but "marketing them is uphill". Pharmaceutical companies and other investors are not interested in investing in costly projects to manufacture the preparations.

    "May be they just do not understand the gravity of the problem", Vadim Pokrovski wondered. AIDS has killed 4,357 people, including 242 children, in Russia.

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