A World AIDS Day Poster in Belgrade (file photo) (epa)
May 30, 2006 (RFE/RL) --The UN agency dealing with HIV/AIDS says former Soviet countries are falling behind in efforts to fight the disease.
In a report released today,
UNAIDS said around 1.5 million people in the region had the HIV virus that causes AIDS at the end of 2005. But just 21,000 were receiving antiretroviral drug therapy, the most effective means of controlling the virus.
UNAIDS head Peter Piot told RFE/RL that the Ukrainian and Russian governments have made progress in slowing the spread of the virus in their countries, but that the response remains inadequate. Piot says the spread of HIV among injecting drug users is a fundamental issue that is not being addressed in the region.
The UNAIDS report said an estimated 38.6 million people have HIV worldwide. Some 25 million people have died since the first cases were identified 25 years ago.
(with additional material from AFP)