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Wednesday, 3 May, 2000, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Big rise in HIV in Russia

Doctors in Russia have warned of a big increase in the number of people with HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.

At a meeting in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, doctors said official figures showed that about five thousand people had HIV in Siberia alone, although charities have suggested many more are affected.

A BBC correspondent in Moscow says HIV has spread mainly through intravenous drug use, because needles are in short supply and often shared.

Our correspondent says prostitution has also thrived since the collapse of the Soviet Union and, because the health care system is under-funded, little is being done to halt the spread of AIDS in Russia.

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