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Tomsk—a glimpse of one Russian region's experience with HIV/AIDS

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 18 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1176
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. Moscow

    The Siberian region of Tomsk is one of 89 regions, or oblasts, in Russia. It lies on the south east of the West Siberian Plain and is rich in oil and gas. The incidence of HIV in the region is not high by Russian standards—97.2 per 100 000 population. This compares with a national incidence of 224 per 100 000. But the characteristics of the epidemic are probably typical of those seen in many other oblasts.

    Life expectancy in Tomsk is low. On average men live to the age of 58; women live to 70. Unemployment is high and road traffic and industrial incidents are the region's biggest killers. Alcohol is also a big problem, as is drug misuse.

    The city of Tomsk and its environs are home to roughly three quarters of the region's population. It has an estimated 6000 intravenous drug users and between 1250 and 2500 commercial sex workers (different surveys show these disparate figures). A neighbourhood health centre called Our Clinic, which runs a needle exchange programme and an outreach service to sex workers, encourages both groups …

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