MOSCOW (AFP) — The head of Russia's health services on Wednesday accused the UN's AIDS agency of publishing "incorrect" statistics on the number of HIV infections in the country.
"We have seen incorrect estimations from several international organisations, including UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation and other UN institutions concerning the situation in Russia," said Gennady Onishchenko, cited by Interfax news agency.
UNAIDS said in its 2007 report on Wednesday that Russia accounts for 66 percent of all new infections in the former Soviet Union, confirming the steady worsening of the AIDS pandemic following a period from 2001 to 2003 when AIDS was on the decline.
The total number of people living with HIV in the former Soviet Union has climbed to 1.6 million, a 150-percent increase from 2001, it said.
"None of the former Soviet republics, expect for Russia, are undertaking serious work toward detecting and caring for HIV infections," he said. "Where work is not being done, the problem does not seem to exist."
He added: "That unilateral judgement without basis is beginning to worry us."
Onishchenko said some 403,000 HIV infections had been detected in Russia since the appearance of the virus in the former Soviet Union in 1987. Those still living number 314,000, he said.
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