15 July 2005 -- An international human rights watchdog has accused Russia of systematically discriminating against pregnant women and mothers who have tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
In a report issued today in Moscow, Human Rights Watch says Russian authorities also segregate the children of HIV-positive women for no valid medical reason.
Estimates of the number of those who have tested positive for HIV in Russia vary from 300,000 to 1 million.
Human Rights Watch quotes official statistics as saying that more than 9,500 HIV-positive women had given birth up to last February, and that 10 percent to 20 percent of them had abandoned their babies.
The report says fear of contact with those children is widespread. It says many of the children have ended up in segregated orphanages or wards for HIV-positive children.
(AP)See also: Russia: Report Denounces Discrimination Against Mothers and Children With HIV