#13 - JRL 7229
Sexual transmitted diseases rampant in Russia - health expert
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 0450 gmt 18 Jun 03
Teenagers are badly affected by syphilis in Russia, independent TV and Ekho Moskvy radio commentator Andrey Cherkizov has said, quoting a leading Russian medical expert. The main reason is that teenagers are being caught up in prostitution. The following is an excerpt from the report by Russian TVS television on 18 June:
A syphilis epidemic is still raging in Russia, Olga Loseva, head of the syphilidology department of the Central Research Institute of Dermatovenerology with the Russian Health Ministry, told journalists on Tuesday [17 June]. Quote - we had a syphilis epidemic in the 1990s and have not overcome it yet - unquote.
Countries with normal rate of infection register 4.9 cases per 100,000 of population. In 1990, this index in Russia was 5.4. In 1997, it reached its peak - hold your breath - of 277.3 cases per 100,000. This level is on par with the one after the Civil War [in Russia in 1917-20], Loseva said. However, in those years, the figure was related to syphilis economica and the spread of the disease in rural areas. Now we are dealing with the disease in cities and it is being transmitted predominantly by sexual contacts, she said. That is STD, in other words.
In 2002, the all-Russia index was 119 cases per 100,000 of population. The figure is close to that after World War II. Another quote. The rate of syphilis infection is slowly decreasing. However, the statistics do not take into account that the same number of cases - or even twice as many - are not part of the official records, Loseva said.
The level of infection among teenagers, and girls in particular, is outrageous, she added. The rate of syphilis infection in this age group went up - hold your breath again - 140 times in the past 10 years. This is due primarily to the rise in child sexual abuse and teenage prostitution. In the next age groups - teenage 14-17 years old and youth 18-20 years old - the infection level is still above the average in Russia, with the figure for girls being 100-150 per cent more than for boys. End of quote.