February 21, 2012
"A recent government crackdown on Russian media, particularly online information portals specializing in health tips and harm reduction methods for drug users, has sparked widespread public opposition, with critics claiming that the 'draconian silencing' of public health advocates could worsen an already perilous health situation in the country," Inter Press Service reports. "Given that Russia currently has one of the largest populations of injecting drug users in the world as well as one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics, the dissemination of such information is essential to keep the spread of the virus under control," IPS writes. "The fact that the United Nations listed universal treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS as one of its most urgent millennium development goals (MDGs) -- with a deadline of achieving universal treatment by 2015 -- human rights and health advocates contend that Russia's failure to allow information or services helpful to drug users breaches international human rights and public health laws," according to the news service (Klomegah, 2/17).
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