Statements and Webcast
H.E. Mrs. Veronika Skvortsova, Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development
9 June 2011
VERONIKA SKVORTSOVA, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation, said her country’s main priority in combating HIV infection was enhancing the multisectoral programme for primary prevention and promoting healthy lifestyles with the aim of motivating people consciously to give up risky behaviour patterns. Of particular importance were measures to prevent HIV infection among groups at high risk, including those engaging in risky behaviour, she said. In order to motivate them to accept voluntary HIV testing, systematic treatment, counselling and social support, the Government cooperated actively with civil society, non-governmental and religious organizations.
Putting it all in context, she said the annual coverage of the population, particularly at-risk groups, by voluntary HIV testing was 22 million to 25 million people, or 15 to 17 per cent of the total population. Besides prevention services, the Government provided free antiretroviral drugs to all who needed them. To that end, Government budgetary allocations for universal access for HIV-positive people to dispensary observation and treatment had increased six-fold, amounting to more than $1.3 billion. In line with the international commitments adopted by the G-8, the Russian Federation had been an active contributor to the strengthening of international efforts to combat HIV infection and improve access to treatment, she said, recalling that, since 2006, her country had contributed some $317 million to the Global Fund and was now increasing that support.
Right of Reply
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of the Russian Federation responded to the statement by Georgia, saying his delegation regretted that the Georgian delegate’s statement had politicized the discussion on such an important issue as the global struggle with HIV/AIDS. That representative had not taken into account the new realities in the region following the new independence of the states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Those Governments had a responsibility to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in those territories. Turning to Russia’s actions in 2008, they had been triggered by the criminal activities of Georgian troops in South Ossetia and the need to protect civilians there.