By Tanya Cooper for Human Rights Watch. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is in retreat almost universally – but not in Russia. As infection rates drop globally, Russia has seen increases of 8 to 10 percent annually over the last decade. The number of Russians living with HIV surpassed 1 million, according to official data release in January, but experts believe the real number to be closer to 1.5 million. The head of Russia’s Federal AIDS Center recently described the situation as a “national catastrophe.”

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