web statsweb stats 20 percent of Russia's prison recruits in Ukraine have HIV? - FightSaga

20 percent of Russia’s prison recruits in Ukraine have HIV?

By Lee Cleveland, FightSaga - April 22, 2023

We don’t hear about it as much as we did in the 1980s and 1990s, but HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is still around. However, it’s now considered a chronic manageable condition rather than a death sentence, and people living with HIV can lead healthy lives with proper medical care and treatment.

However, if left untreated HIV can ultimately result in Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition that can be fatal.

Timur, a 37-year-old HIV-positive Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine, recently told The New York Times that he was offered life-saving medications and an early prison discharge in exchange for his participation in frontline warfare in Ukraine.

In Russia, an alarming amount of prisoners living with HIV are taking a chance with their lives to be able to access medication that could potentially save them.

Ukrainian officials have estimated that approximately 20 percent of the recruits in the Russian Armed Forces are living with HIV. That figure is derived from the infection rate of Russian soldiers caught in Ukraine.

According to The New York Times, some inmates have been enticed by the offer of HIV treatment, which can bring down the viral load and make it undetectable; thus, reducing its transmissibility.

These inmates form part of the Wagner Group, a paramilitary team with duties of shielding President Vladimir Putin.’

“I understood I would have a quick death or a slow death,” Timur, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence following a drug arrest, told the Times.

Timur said that he underwent two weeks of training before being sent out with a gun, ammunition, a helmet, and the words of his superior – “if you try to leave this field, we will shoot you.”

Typical of the Russian military.

Ruslan, 42, is currently incarcerated and serving an 11-year sentence for a drug-related offense. According to him, the medication he received at the penal colony was ineffective which made him suspect he would not survive until his release date.

Consequently, he enlisted in the military.

“If you have a long sentence it gives you a chance to begin life again,” Ruslan said.

Russian troops diagnosed with HIV are required to wear red or white wristbands as an indicator of their condition.

The United States does not allow people living with HIV to join the armed forces or military, apart from those who are infected while on active duty, because it puts healthy soldiers at risk. After all, bleeding is common on the battlefield.

And does the Russian military know – or even care – about the health status of the infected soldiers who have enlisted? HIV isn’t always asymptomatic and some are closer to developing full-blown AIDS than others. It all depends on their viral load.

According to a report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, a staggering 2% of Russians were living with HIV as of October 2021. No other country outside of the African continent has a higher percentage.

Desperate, cruel, and downright pathetic.

Will the Russian government follow through on its promise to properly medicate the infected soldiers for the rest of their lives?


Tags: war in ukraine