The growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia is a national security issue. Russia’s rate of infection is the most rapid in the world, and its government is doing little to address the issue. In certain cases, it is actively thwarting international efforts at assistance. If Russia follows the trend lines of other states, such as South Africa, with most new cases occurring in males 18-25, HIV/AIDS will have disastrous effects on higher education, military service, and the labor market. If the Russian government continues to stall in its response to the epidemic, and if the rates of infection increase, HIV/AIDS could possibly threaten the stability of the state, or force the state to enact draconian measures to contain the disease.
Although concern among the Russian population about the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS is significant, the Russian government continues to treat the problem as a low priority. The independent Russian Public Opinion and Market Research (ROMIR) survey foundation in December 2001 reported that more than 90 percent of Russians see combating AIDS as highly relevant in Russia. Despite HIV rates doubling in Russia every year since 1998, government funding has simply not kept pace. […]
Sarah E. Mendelson, Celeste A. Wallander, Julie Sawyer