This website use cookies and similar technologies to improve the site and to provide customised content and advertising. By using this site, you agree to this use. To learn more, including how to change your cookie settings, please view our Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
CA
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the Canada version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 291 > Red alert

Red alert

HIV RATES ARE FALLING IN THE WEST BUT IN RUSSIA THEY’RE SOARING. GAY MEN ARE AMONG THE WORST HIT AND THOUGHT TO BE IN THE MIDST OF AN INVISIBLE EPIDEMIC. MATT CAIN TRAVELS TO MOSCOW WHERE HE MEETS HIV ACTIVISTS AND VISITS THE GAY SCENE TO FIND OUT WHY

Idon’t really believe condoms can protect you from HIV.” These are the words of Vladislav Ivanov, a 34-yearold hotel worker from Rostov-on-Don, who now lives in Moscow. He’s one of an estimated 1.5 million people in Russia living with HIV.

Like many others, he isn’t receiving any treatment and as such is at risk of passing on the virus. But this doesn’t seem to worry him. “I don’t wear condoms, because I don’t like them,” he says. “Most people I know think condoms can’t protect you from HIV. People in Russia think of them only in terms of contraception.”

Vladislav’s story is chilling. Diagnosed HIV positive in March, he tells me he was quite calm when he heard the news — until then he wasn’t even convinced HIV existed. Because of this, he had unprotected sex with a man who had told him he was HIV positive. “I didn’t worry about it because I’d seen a TV programme about those who deny the existence of HIV. There was a woman whose daughter died and this woman was insisting it doesn’t exist and her daughter died of something else.”

Vladislav tells me that since his diagnosis he’s spent time researching the virus and now feels “in a state of confusion”. One thing he is sure of is the need to hide his HIV status from society; when a previous employer found out, he lost his job. Wary of this happening again, he’s given me a false name and won’t be photographed.

His story reflects a bigger picture that’s causing serious concern for those working in the HIV sector around the globe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations programme on HIV/ Aids (UNAIDS), more than 103,000 new cases were reported in Russia in 2016, an increase of more than five per cent on the previous year, and it’s estimated that there are currently another 500,000 undiagnosed cases.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia are the only regions in the world where HIV infections are rising, with Russia accounting for eight out of every 10 new infections. According to the estimates of HIV support group Phoenix Plus, 20 per cent of gay men in Russia are HIV positive, and by 2020 this will increase to 30 per cent.

READ MORE
Purchase options below
Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Attitude - 291
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Issue - 291
$6.99
Or 699 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 2.77 per issue
SAVE
60%
$35.99
Or 3599 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.68 per issue
SAVE
43%
$3.99
Or 399 points

View Issues

About Attitude

World exclusive! Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Plus: Alt. rockers Mashrou’ Leila, the shocking reality behind rising HIV rates in Russia, Instagram poster boy Max Emerson, and Bananarama.