Russia is home to one of Europe’s largest and fastest growing HIV/AIDS infected populations. As of 2016, more than 1 million people are registered on the country’s official HIV-positive list. What factors led to Russia’s AIDS epidemic, and will it continue to grow? How have policymakers responded to the crisis? And what do these responses say about Russia’s current political, social, and economic environment?
As the world’s public health leaders prepared to meet in South Africa for the AIDS 2016 summit, the Center on Global Interests held a discussion with Robert Heimer and Judyth Twigg, two leading experts in the fields of epidemiology, demography and public health, to discuss the future of Russia’s struggle to address the crisis.
About the Speakers:
Robert Heimer is professor of epidemiology and pharmacology at the Yale School of Public Health, where he is also the Director of the Emerging Infections Program. Dr. Heimer’s research combines laboratory, operational, behavioral, and structural analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programs in preventing the negative medical consequences of injection drug use. He has extensive field experience in Russia and eastern Europe, including work on alcohol and HIV risk reduction programs in St. Petersburg and a HIV prevalence study among drug-users in Russia and Estonia. Dr. Heimer received his training in molecular biology and pharmacology at Columbia College (BA) and Yale University (MA, PhD).
Judyth Twigg is professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also currently serving as a senior associate (non-resident) with the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; consultant to the World Bank, the U.S. federal government, and UNICEF; and adjunct professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Twigg’s work focuses on issues of health, demographic change, and health systems reform in Eurasia, as well as evaluations of human development and public sector management projects globally. She has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Congress and has been a member of several congressional and other high-level advisory groups on Russian affairs. She holds a B.S. in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.A. in political science and Russian studies from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Ph.D. in political science and security studies from MIT.