In early September, N. Maksyuta, Governor of the Volgograd Oblast, signed a Resolution to prepare for and participate in the campaign associated with the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon.

An Organising Committee was set up; it is chaired by Yuri Sizov, First Vice-Governor, and consists of officials from the Regional Administrations Health and Education Committees, and the Regional AIDS Centre.

On September 20, 2008, the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon arrived in Volgograd. On that day, the campaign participants visited eight secondary vocational schools where they delivered lectures about tolerant attitude to HIV-infected people and prevention approaches.

Similar meetings with volunteers of the campaign will take place in other city schools on September 22, 2008. At the same time, seminars for specialists will be held in the Volgograd Institute of Youth Policies and Social Work and in the Regional AIDS and Communicable Disease Centre.

On the same day, a gala-concert of Russian pop music stars will take place in a city square at 06:00 p.m..

Note: As of today, there are 6,069 registered HIV-infected persons in the Volgograd Oblast; this number includes 5,721 adults, 263 adolescents, and 85 children. Most of the identified HIV-infected persons are young people aged from 15 to 30.


The capital of Moldova will be visited by the STOP AIDS International Automobile Marathon, informed Yuri Nepomnyashchikh at a press conference.

The Automobile Marathon, which started from the Arctic region and already ran through Novy Urengoi, Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Tobolsk, Orsk, has reached Volgograd. Rostov, Sochi, Tuapse are ahead of it in Russia, and then, its participants will drive through CIS countries. They are arriving in Kishinev on October 2, 2008. There, the campaign will include trainings for physicians, seminars on primary HIV/AIDS prevention, press conferences, and lectures in eight schools.

During a press conference, Boris Golovin, Deputy Minister of Health of the Republic of Moldova, said: The HIV epidemic is a global challenge. In Moldova, there are over 4,500 people with HIV. Almost 82% of infected people are persons aged from 20 to 39. The Ministry of Health keeps on monitoring the situation.

Young people must be involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Primary prevention is the most effective way to combat the disease. Now, we register few HIV cases, but their number is steadily growing in the country. The infection is spreading already not only within the risk groups, everybody can get infected, says Oleg Benesh, Director of the National Research and Care Centre of Preventive Medicine.

The first STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon ran in 2007 through 15 Russian cities from Vladivostok to Moscow. In 2008, Belarus, Moldova and the Ukraine joined it.


The Orsk City Administration will host a roundtable as part of the STOP AIDS International Automobile Marathon campaign.

As stressed by Yuri Nepomnyashchikh, Manager of the Automobile Marathon, Orsk is among the campaign participating cities because as of today, 7,327 HIV-infected people are registered in this city, which is about 3 % of its total population. This rate is 8 times higher than the regional one and 10 times higher than the national percentage of HIV people. In addition, the Orenburg Oblast is among the leaders in the number of HIV-people.

Talking about the spread of HIV in the city, E. Kupchik, Chief Physician of the AIDS and Communicable Disease Centre, referred to Moscow where prior to entering higher schools, all students must go through HIV testing, and to some Asian countries, where HIV testing is a mandatory procedure for registering a marriage.

Moreover, Dr. Kupchik pointed to the need to increase funding and introduce incentive payments to health personnel for providing care to HIV-infected people.

Y. Berg, City Mayer, who was present at the meeting, promised to raise these issues at a City Council meeting.

The roundtable discussion generated other proposals as well. In particular, its participants practically unanimously agreed that HIV prevention should be started from the kindergarten, and continued in schools and universities. At the same time, Yuri Nepomnyashchikh noted that public opinion surveys found no discrimination of HIV-infected persons in Orsk. Residents of Orsk are rather tolerant to such people. In other cities, Orsk is referred to as a good example; unfortunately, so far, only in the respect of tolerance.

On September 19, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., a primary HIV prevention training event will be offered to physicians. On September 20, 2008, at 02:00 p.m., a press conference will held on the occasion of the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon. Alexey Lysenkov, AIDS Ambulance TV Program Host, will deliver trainings for Orsk journalists.

In addition, the campaign will include a gala-concert of Russian pop music stars in a city square on September 20, 2008, at 06:00 p.m.. The concert will be lead by Alexey Lysenkov.


On September 12, 2008, the marathon participants arrived in Tobolsk (Tyumen Oblast). On the same day, a press conference was held for city and regional mass media.

It is noteworthy that Tobolsk is among the marathon participating cities because it ranks the second in the number HIV-infected people in the Oblast, according to Alexander Popkov, Chief Physician of the Tyumen Oblast AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre.

Certainly, it would have been more convenient to have such a campaign implemented in Tyumen like in 2007, said Dr. A. Popkov. But in Tobolsk, which is an important economic zone, the current situation with HIV is very bad. As regards the Tyumen Oblast as a whole, 0.7 % of its total population is infected with HIV, but the growth in the number of HIV-people is slower than for the Ural Federal District and Russia.

He also says that the Tyumen Oblast is keen to participate in such events, especially, if they do help to raise public awareness.

During the stay in the Tyumen Oblast, marathon participants trained local physicians and had meetings with HIV-infected citizens. In general, secondary special and higher schools, they delivered thematic classes and lectures. Health facilities offered free-of-charge HIV testing. Tested people received souvenirs, including T-shirts with the marathon emblem, from the campaign organisers.

The day before, in a number of city districts and trade hubs, posters with the marathon logos were displayed. Its participants informed the citys residents about HIV prevention measures and disseminated public information products.

On September 13, 2008 (Saturday), at 06:00 p.m., a grandiose concert of Russian popular music stars took place in the city cultural centre. An invariable attribute of the campaign is dissemination of public awareness materials, in particular, those meant for young people.

In intervals, A. Lysenkov, who led the concert, informed the young audience about the ways to protect oneself against HIV.

A. Lysenkov says that in each city, such concerts bring together thousands of young people. Taking advantage the stars popularity, I talk with the audience to tell them basic things. It raises their awareness, he says.

In Tobolsk, HIV testing services are available in the AIDS Centre located at the address: Melnikova Str. 53, Office # 416.


Rostov-on-the-Don will be visited by the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon to have an anti-AIDS campaign deployed there.

Such a campaign is undertaken in view of the rapid growth in the number of people living with HIV in Russia (38,000 - 39,000 new HIV cases are registered every year), and the top priority attached to addressing the problem. It was said by Dr. Elena Beketova, Chief Physician of the Rostov Oblast AIDS Centre, at the roundtable held on August 10, 2008, to promote Partnership between Civil Society and Public Authorities to Ensure Universal Access to HIV Treatment.

According to the Regional AIDS Centre, the Rostov Oblast has no educational institution where there are no HIV-infected students; and out of the 200,000 enterprises, there is none where no HIV-infected persons work. The epidemic affects human and mobilisation resources of the country suffering from a demographic crisis. This was emphasized by Elena Beketova.

Russia is ranked the first among countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia in terms of HIV incidence growth (10 %). In the Rostov Oblast, the number of newly identified HIV-infected persons increased from 299 in 2006 up to 432 in 2007, i.e. by 44%.

As of September 1, 2008, the total number of registered HIV-infected people in the Rostov Oblast was 4,224, including 145 children; since January 1, 2008, 283 HIV-infected persons were identified.

The epidemic is increasingly hitting women. In 2007, women accounted for more than a half of all HIV-persons in the Rostov Oblast. At the same time, according to Elena Beketova, the number of HIV-infected women who bear babies is yearly growing. In her opinion, it means that the chosen policy to prepare such women for motherhood is correct.

The Rostov roundtable brought together the greatest number of participants representing public authorities, including A. Berdik, Vice-Governor of the Rostov Oblast, T. Bykovskaya, Minister of Health of the Rostov Oblast, V. Solodovnikov, Director of the Department of the Federal Migration Service for the Rostov Oblast, A. Belozerov, General-Lieutenant of Militia, Director of the Internal Affairs Department of the Rostov Oblast, M. Solovyev, Director of the Department of the Federal Oversight Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare for the Rostov Oblast, S. Gorbunov, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the Rostov Oblast, I. Guskov, Minister of General and Vocational Education of the Rostov Oblast, E. Skidan, Minister of Labour and Social Development of the Rostov Oblast, S. Vasilyeva, Minister of Culture of the Rostov Oblast, M. Poyurova, Director of the Information and Monitoring Department of the Oblast Administration, S. Ryzenko, President of the Union of Employers of the Rostov Oblast, N. Prisyazhnyuk, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Rostov Oblast, L. Zhabin, Chief of the Medical Division of the Directorate of the Federal Prison Service for the Rostov Oblast.


In Nizhnevartovsk, free-of-charge HIV testing is offered, under the STOP AIDS International Automobile Marathon, which started in Russia in August and will finish in December 2008. In Nizhnevartovsk, the column of trailers of the STOP AIDS International Automobile Marathon arrived on September 5, 2008, and lectures and trainings will be delivered until September 9, 2008 when the central square of the city will be used a venue for a free concert under this STOP AIDS campaign.

As part of the campaign, the Nizhnevartovsk AIDS Centre offers pre-testing counselling services and free-of-charge HIV testing to find out ones status and receive souvenirs. According to the AIDS Centre, during the first week of the campaign, voluntary testing services were provided to 162 persons. Prior to the STOP AIDS campaign, 34 persons were tested per week on the average. Thus, the voluntary testing rate increased by 128 persons.

According to Tatiana Loshcheva, Chief Physician of the AIDS Centre, such prevention activities cannot be found anywhere else in Russia. She also notes that the tangible benefits were gained owing to the high performance of specialists from the Nizhnevartovsk AIDS Centre; its up-to-date laboratory equipment and individually developed prevention programs. The Centre is staffed with seven psychologists and two social educators.

According to the AIDS Centre, since 1996, the number of HIV cases registered in Nizhnevartovsk has reached 1,177. The city ranks the 17th in HIV prevalence among the 22 administrative units of the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District: the cumulative HIV rate is 480.4 per 100,000 population, which is 1.6 times lower than for the region on the average.

The Khanty Mansiysk Autonomous District is one of the 22 regions where the Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS -- Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation is implemented.


On September 4, 2008, RIA Novosti hosted a press conference to highlight the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon.

The press conference was attended by M. Grishankov, Member of the Sate Duma and the First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Security, L.A. Dementyeva, Deputy Chief of a Division, Rospotrebnadzor, Y. Nepomnyashchikh, STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon Manager, A. Pankratov, Program Coordinator from the Russian Health Care Foundation, A. Lysenkov, AIDS Ambulance TV Project Team Leader, and E. Feklistov, a popular singer, leader of a pop music group.

In response to questions from journalists, Y. Nepomnyashchikh tells them that this year, applications to participate in the International Automobile Marathon came from 13 cities (located in eight Russian regions) as well as from the Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. Therefore, the following cities will take part in the campaign: Moscow, Novy Urengoi, Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Tobolsk, Tyumen, Ishim, Ufa, Orsk, Volgograd, Rostov, Tuapse, Sochi, Donetsk, Chiinu, Kiev, and Minsk.

The campaign objectives are to convince people of the need to go through HIV testing on a regular basis, to foster tolerance to people living with HIV, to raise journalists awareness of this problem, to provide information and present new prevention practices to regional authorities.

The campaign will include roundtables with political elites of the regions, public awareness activities (seminars and lectures in schools), trainings for infectionists, free HIV testing in the participating cities for during this period and meetings with people living with HIV.

In each of the cities, the campaign will take two and a half weeks and culminate into the arrival of the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathons column of trailers and a free concert of Russian pop music stars.

The column of trailers has arrived in Novy Urengoi where the campaigns seminars, lectures, trainings and meetings with PLWH have been offered since September 3, 2008. On September 5, 2008, the first STOP AIDS Campaigns concert will take place in the central square of the city.

The general sponsor of the automobile marathon is the Russian Health Care Foundation.


Participants of the Ufa roundtable talked about the need to consolidate efforts of all public authorities and civil society institutions in response to the AIDS epidemic. The roundtable was organised under the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon.

According to Fidus Yamaltinov, Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Welfare of Bashkortostan, health workers alone cannot contain the HIV/AIDS epidemic; to cope with the epidemic, all stakeholder ministries and agencies must join their efforts.

The organisers of the International STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon started their presentation with the following words: Intensive behaviour change communication is the only tool which can arrest the progressing HIV epidemic.

In Ufa, the campaign will span over the period of September 1 - 19, 2008, and include HIV education and training events for schoolchildren of senior grades, students of vocational and higher schools and medical workers. It is intended to deliver HIV prevention seminars for specialists, lectures in schools, to have meetings with people living with HIV, and press conferences.

According to the Ministry of Health of Bashkortostan, since the beginning of 2008, 378 HIV-infected persons (192 men and 186 women) have been identified in Bashkortostan. Compared with 2007, the regional HIV incidence has increased 1.1 times. As of May 1, 2008, the total number of registered HIV cases was 6,107, including 4,240 men and 2,138 women. Regular monitoring covers 5,506 patients. Since the beginning of this year, 79 babies have been born of HIV-infected women; 98 patients have died. As earlier, young people aged from 15 to 30 comprise the group of the highest risk. Medical workers note that the epidemic has changed its pattern. Earlier, HIV prevailed among drug users but now it is increasingly more often transmitted through sexual contacts, thus affecting children as well.


A roundtable to promote Partnership between Civil Society and Public Authorities to Ensure Universal Access to HIV Treatment was held as part of the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon campaign, with the Russian Health Care Foundation being one of its initiators and the general sponsor. During the meeting, Alexander Popkov, Chief Physician of the Tyumen Oblast AIDS and Communicable Disease Control Centre, informed that in 2008, HIV growth in the Tyumen Oblast was slower than for the Ural Federal District and Russia.

According to Alexander Popkov, in the Tyumen Oblast, the HIV growth rate of the first seven months of 2008 was 8 %, whereas for the Ural Federal District and for Russia as a whole, they are, respectively, 24 % and 9 %. In recent years, the Oblast AIDS Centre has been registering fewer HIV cases, but the municipal rates are growing. In the first six months, the share of HIV-infected women was 53%, and that of men was 48%, noted Dr. Popkov.

He also indicated that the most prevalent ways of transmission were drug use and promiscuous sex contacts.

Dr. Popkov says that the epidemic hits primarily young people aged from 19 to 24 (30 %), and from 24 to 29 years (28 %). Since 2007, the Oblast AIDS Centre has been actively cooperating with the Russian Health Care Foundation under the Global Funds Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS -- Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation. This Program has already supplied ARV drugs and laboratory consumables, supported projects aimed at establishing multi-professional teams, palliative care projects, outreach projects targeted at injecting drug users, and non-medical service development projects. In prisons located in the Tyumen Oblast, 38 patients are provided with antiretroviral treatment under the Global Fund Program. In September 2008, the second polyclinic department of the AIDS Centre will be made operational and provide services of various organisations and HIV-infected volunteers as peer consultants. To combat the epidemic of the XXI century, it is necessary to consolidate efforts not only under the federal, regional and municipal programs, but also under on-going international programs in the Russian Federation.


In Yugra, events forerunning the arrival of the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon include a roundtable to promote Partnership between Civil Society and Public Authorities to Ensure Universal Access to HIV Treatment, which took place in Surgut, on August 26, 2008.

Such roundtables to be attended by officials from the City Administrations will be also arranged in other cities of Yugra: in Nizhnevartovsk (on August 27, 2008) and in Khanty-Mansiysk (on August 28, 20008).

The column of the Automobile Marathon will arrive in Yugra in early September. The aim of the STOP AIDS Automobile Marathon is to increase the visibility of HIV/AIDS problems for as many people as possible, to promote healthy lifestyle among young people, and foster tolerance to neighbouring HIV-positive people.

Another important objective of the campaign is to convey information about the need to go through HIV testing on a regular basis, access to up-to-date antiretroviral treatment and high-quality medical care in Regional AIDS Centres, including psychological care; and to facilitate identification of HIV-infected people to prevent further transmission of the infection and to stimulate treatment adherence.

In August and September, the region will be offered a number of events with inputs from lead scientists, HIV/AIDS specialists and staff from international organisations.

The Khanty Mansiysk Autonomous District (Yugra) is one of the 22 regions where the Global Funds 4th Round Program: Promoting a Strategic Response to HIV/AIDS -- Treatment and Care for Vulnerable Populations in the Russian Federation is implemented.

This region is the main oil and gas supplier in Russia and a major oil-extracting region in the world. It is in the lead in a number of the key economic performance indicators. In spite of its remoteness from central Russian regions, the living standards there are very high, and it is a promising market for drug trafficking which is the main cause of the rapid HIV spread in the late 1990-ies.

In 2007, the regional HIV incidence reached 993 new HIV cases, which means that compared with 2006, it was reduced by 0.8 %, but this rate remained 2.1 times higher than for Russia.

Owing to the slower growth rate of HIV cumulative prevalence in 2007, the region moved from the 6th to the 10th place in terms of its HIV prevalence (per 100,000 population) among the Russian regions. In the Ural Federal District, Yugra remained the second in this respect after the Sverdlovsk Oblast

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