HIV AIDS
Russia's top AIDS expert warns the epidemic can spread to two million Russians in five years.Getty Images

A leading AIDS expert in Russia has warned the epidemic can spread to an estimated two million Russians in five years if the government continues with its conservative agenda.

According to Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of Russia's state AIDS centre, the number of people infected with the HIV virus has doubled in the last five years to 930,000 from around 500,000 in 2010.

In an interview with AFP News, Pokrovsky said: "This means that the measures being taken now are ineffective. This is an infection that affects people aged 25-35.

"They die when they are around 35. It's a serious cause of death for Russians, young Russians."

Pokrovsky believes emphasis should be placed on preventive care, citing the case of Germany where drug replacement therapy for addicts, along with the legalization of prostitution and sex education in schools has helped fight the spread of the disease.

"Children are taught to use condoms there," said Pokrovsky.

Sex education and drug replacement therapy for addicts are banned in Russia where the Orthodox Church has a growing influence.

The virus is believed to affect more of the heterosexual population in Russia where over 930,000 people have been registered with HIV out of which 192,000 have died.

The crisis remains unresolved in the country that does not even have a single expert on HIV prevention, stresses Pokrovsky.