esmaspäev, november 26, 2007

Dying in Narva

I was a bit shocked to read the findings of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which showed Estonia to have the highest rate of HIV infection in Europe.

According to the report, there are currently 6,286 HIV-positive people in Estonia — with 555 new cases registered this year — and 176 people have died of AIDS.

Kristi Ruutli, spokeswoman for Estonia's National Institute for Health Development, said in the report that the HIV virus is being spread among young, male drug-users, many of whom belong to the country's sizable ethnic Russian minority.

Prostitution has also contributed to the spread, Ruutli said, and the virus has also been transmitted with increasing frequency through heterosexual contact.

6,286 people is a lot for a country of 1.34 million people. But when you consider that the virus has been localized to ethnic Russians in northeastern Estonia, it's even more worrisome because you are dealing with a smaller community of people. The jump in the HIV rate also coincided with a similar spread in northwestern Russia, so one can assume that the junkie community has spread the virus from St. Petersburg through Narva and into Tallinn.

Narva currently has a population of around 67,000 people, the lowest since the early 1970s, of those about 53,800 are ethnic Russians and just 2,700 are ethnic Estonians. About 28,000 are Estonian citizens, 23,000 are Russian citizens, and 15,000 remain stateless. Since 1991, Narva has lost 19 percent of its population. The city is already dealing with higher rates of unemployment and chronic diseases, like HIV/AIDS, only compounds the problem.

What's the solution? Greater investment? Sure. If Estonia is searching for workers then some are to be found in Narva, that's true. A softer, Western European approach, like free needles for addicts? Perhaps they already have this. More obligatory HIV testing? Could work. The only scary question is, if there are 6,300 people in Estonia who know that they have HIV, how many are there that don't know they are carrying the disease? No one can accurately estimate that number, but it is most certainly higher than the number of known cases.


26 kommentaari:

Paavo ütles ...

The estimation is 12000-15000 HIV+, i.e. over half of those carrying the disease in Estonia are currently not aware that they are. Scary? In fact, there has been a shift in who gets infected in recent years, as number of new cases among risk groups (drug addicts, prostitutes) has been staying roughly the same per year, while non-risk groups are increasingly exposed (due to ignorance, not exactly helped by statements such as this http://www.delfi.ee/news/paevauudised/eesti/article.php?id=17509070 , for one reason).

For more info on solutions, check
http://terve-eesti.ee/ and http://www.heategu.ee/index.php?id=661 for reports on organisations involved.

plasma-jack ütles ...

A bit off topic, but.

Since today, I have a feeling that local Russians are from Mars. And by that, I mean that they are bloody Martians, struggling to understand basic truths about life on Earth.
http://www.epl.ee/artikkel/409239
From ND page:
http://www.pomnim.com/frm/viewtopic.php?t=2405

I'm positively shocked. How can so many people be, ahem, so fckng STUPID? (synopsis in English: an extremist website wrote that in a few hours, the crown will be devaluated and all the cash machines in Estonia will be shut down. What's funny is that unbelievably large number of local Russians believed it)

My favorite comment:
роде на официальных сайтах об этом ни слова...
...хоть в эSSтонии всё обычно делается под покровом ночи... ;-)

Giustino ütles ...

My favorite comment:
роде на официальных сайтах об этом ни слова...
...хоть в эSSтонии всё обычно делается под покровом ночи... ;-)


Kas keegi saab tõlkida või?

plasma-jack ütles ...

My Russian is far from perfect, but it's something like: "You can't read anything on the subject from the official media...
... obviously in eSStonia everything happens under the cover of night"

Giustino ütles ...

The estimation is 12000-15000 HIV+, i.e. over half of those carrying the disease in Estonia are currently not aware that they are.

That's like more than 1 percent of the population. And if Härra Ansip is correct, then it is a larger percentage of a smaller part of that population. Yes, quite scary.

Also, one must wonder what percentage of the population is using IV drugs.

Redfox ütles ...

dieing, btw.
what would they be dying anyhow, their pants?

lounamaa ütles ...

Off topic, I know, but:
The -ing form of "die" is "dying". The -ing form of "dye" is "dyeing".

plasma-jack ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
egan ütles ...

Is it really very clever for a public health official to make this a 'Russian problem'? It's pretty politicised language that can be counter productive, like the 'don't touch the gays and you'll be fine' type rubbish that permeated information in the UK in the early 80s.

Max ütles ...

Plasma-Jack wrote: an extremist website wrote that in a few hours, the crown will be devaluated and all the cash machines in Estonia will be shut down. What's funny is that unbelievably large number of local Russians believed it
Just as Putin can always rely on herd instinct, so too can those who would work mischief for the Estonian Republic. This smells of a crude attempt to panic the muzhiks into massive withdrawals, hoping to break the banks, or at the very least, gum up the ATM network, nicht war?

Urmas ütles ...

As far as I know, there have been programs for distribution of free needles for some years now, maybe even from 2000.
And everybody can check themselves anonymously at local "aidsinõustamiskabinet." Both risk-groups as drug-addicts or prostitutes and usual people go there to take hiv/aids-tests.
Don´t know really how useful these methods are, but having heard about these problems for 10 years, I think it would be much worse without these preventions.

Kristopher ütles ...

Unless there are a lot of AIDS immigrants arriving via tunnel under the river or something to replenish the population, today's high AIDS rate will be tomorrow's low AIDS rate.

Gee. I sound like my Republican uncle.

"Tomorrow" might be more literal than intended, as a good percentage proably have multireistant TB -- and aren't some still injecting "moonipuru" )poppy straw)? Nasty infections and embolisms.

I don't mean to suggest that Narva's Russians are somehow less consmopoltan and well-connected than other communities, but somehow I don't think this could spread in a chain reaction.

Naturally, I would love to see modern drugs for everyone, no one should die from AIDS in this day and age.

But seriously, how do they cross the border from NW Russia? No one is going to stand in line for like five hours if they need a fix like yesterday?

Giustino ütles ...

I'm positively shocked. How can so many people be, ahem, so fckng STUPID?

Maybe they'll finally wake up and realize that Night Watch has been lying to them?

space_maze ütles ...

Unless there are a lot of AIDS immigrants arriving via tunnel under the river or something to replenish the population, today's high AIDS rate will be tomorrow's low AIDS rate.

Which leads me to wondering .. how good is care of HIV+ individuals in Estonia? --> how long is the life expectancy of someone diagnosed HIV+?

Maybe they'll finally wake up and realize that Night Watch has been lying to them?

If 70 decades of Soviet Union did not make them mistrust the people whispering things into their ears, how should this?

I cannot claim to in any way understand the way the Russian mind works. But history does seem to have produced an amazing resistance towards bullshit.

Paavo ütles ...

I don't mean to suggest that Narva's Russians are somehow less consmopoltan and well-connected than other communities, but somehow I don't think this could spread in a chain reaction.

A very typical attitude which people involved in HIV prevention have been trying to fight for years is this: it is a Narva/Tallinn addicts'/prostitutes' problem. It is not. Today the main target for prevention programs is the ordinary ignorant citizen who can not only easily contract the virus by having unprotected sex but who is also unaware that he/she might be a carrier.

Mart ütles ...

Do you have anything to back it up? I know that's what they're saying in the ads but has there been actual research done on how many of them are, you know, heroin addicts and prostitutes?

egan ütles ...

Do prostitutes only sleep with other prostitutes and heroin addicts in Estonia, then? That truly is an economic miracle.

martintg ütles ...

giustino said...
My favorite comment:
роде на официальных сайтах об этом ни слова...
...хоть в эSSтонии всё обычно делается под покровом ночи... ;-)

Kas keegi saab tõlkida või?


Babelfish provides a reasonable translation:
http://babelfish.altavista.com/

nipi ütles ...

'bout the EEK issue - my eyes have already seen it among estonians.
say just 'leelo-leelo' and someone tells you about story from popular tv-program about expiration of 20-FIM banknotes with exactly similar consequences.

Giustino ütles ...

A very typical attitude which people involved in HIV prevention have been trying to fight for years is this: it is a Narva/Tallinn addicts'/prostitutes' problem. It is not.

You are right. Especially in sexually liberal northern European countries, the risk of it spreading from risky contacts with prostitutes and addicts to the general population is real.

The other side is that it will become a real drain on the medical system. Meds are expensive. This fatalistic, social darwinist approach to the problem actually doesn't make and sound, fiscal sense.

Paavo ütles ...

Do you have anything to back it up? I know that's what they're saying in the ads but has there been actual research done on how many of them are, you know, heroin addicts and prostitutes?

Not sure about more recent research, but this gives some indication:

http://www.heategu.ee/doc/HIV-raport.pdf

(read from page 3, top)

Heli ütles ...

Nipi, you seriously comapare that Vigla´s leelo-leelo thing 16-17 years ago to the current situation? I find it uncomparable cause back then was not available such sources of information what is now- internet, big number of tv-chanels etc and actually the main thing- our society and people´s thinking has developed A LOT during these years, back then people were just inexperienced what is "free market" and didn´t know what to think and expect and to see that same kind of things happen also on doorsill of 2008 is just stunning and makes to realize that some ethnic groups have not developed at all meanwhile.
And about HIV..scary, very scary I must say :S

Kristopher ütles ...

Q: How many degrees of separation are there between an HIV positive injecting drug user in Narva and a cabinet minister?

A popular (if extrenely tasteless) joke during previous govenments, especially back when Reform was sleeping with Centre.

Those were different times. I'm not going to repeat the punch line about the one truck driver in a family forum.

Kristopher ütles ...

Even though it involves one of the Reiljans (not saying which one), and I'm sorely tempted.

But seriously, the stats on prostitution -- the number of men who frequent prostitutes -- is very high in the Baltics. They have it so rationalized in their minds as a natural bodily function, a historical imprimatur. That's disturbing.

Trek ütles ...

A high HIV rate in Estonian prostitutes is also bad for the HIV rates in Finland and other countries.

According to a recent Helsingin Sanomat article: "Already now, the majority of the clients of Estonian prostitutes are foreigners, approximately half of them from Finland."
Article

Travis ütles ...

Why is men visiting prostitutes disturbing? Men engaging in anal sex with one another, or injecting drugs instead of smoking a big fat joint or popping pills like normal hedonists is much more disturbing. According to America's Centers for Disease Control, the rate of female-to-male transfer for HIV is something like .01% WITHOUT a condom. It would be a shame if Estonia's Russian population dwindled as a result of this crisis, blyad'. Think of how much they've contributed to the refinement of Estonia's national image since they 'liberated' the country, blyad'!