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Official In Russia's Fourth-Largest City Retracts HIV Epidemic Announcement

Experts say real HIV figures in Russia might be higher than the official data as not all people infected with the virus seek help from medical institutions (file photo).

A Russian health official in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg has retracted her earlier statement that the HIV infection rate there has reached epidemic levels.

Tatyana Savinova, the first deputy chief of Yekaterinburg's health-care department, said on November 2 that she used the word "epidemic" in her earlier statement to express how medical personnel view the situation, adding that a HIV epidemic has not been officially announced in the city.

Savinova said earlier that 1.8 percent of the city's population was infected with the virus that causes AIDS.

Experts have said that the real figure might be higher as not all HIV-affected people seek help from medical institutions.

With 1.4 million inhabitants, Yekaterinburg is Russia’s fourth-largest city after Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Novosibirsk.

With reporting by and TASS