Russian President Vladimir Putin’s declaration on Tuesday that Russia’s prostitutes are “undoubtedly the best in the world” is unconvincing — to put it charitably — because thousands of Russian prostitutes are infected with the deadly, sexually transmittable human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Putin’s remarks came in the context of a discussion on the bizarre dossier BuzzFeed published recently, which contains unverified allegations that Trump was secretly filmed engaging in scandalous activities with prostitutes while in Russia. (RELATED: Putin Brags About How Russian Prostitutes Are ‘Undoubtedly The Best In The World’)
Trump is “a grown man,” Putin said, and “he’s someone who has been involved with beauty contests for many years and has met the most beautiful women in the world. I find it hard to believe that he rushed to some hotel to meet girls of loose morals, although ours are undoubtedly the best in the world.”
The exact number of HIV-infested Russian sex workers is unknown. Hard numbers are difficult to come by. Generally, though, the total number of prostitutes is large and the number with HIV is significant.
A 2005 analysis from the World Health Organization shows that the HIV epidemic is concentrated primarily among intravenous drug users, sex workers and gay men.
Hard drug users make up the biggest segment by quite a margin. However, “a significant proportion of drug users are involved in sex work.”
The World Health Organization report estimates that between five and 15 percent of Russia’s sex workers are infected with HIV. Among sex workers who also inject themselves with drugs, the figure is 48 percent.
“Increasing heterosexual transmission is being reported, resulting in increasing numbers of women being infected.”
A 2016 Newsweek report citing Moscow radio station RSN observes that official Russian statistics peg the number of Russian sex workers at 1 million. (An anti-prostitution group suggests the real number exceeds 3 million.)
Applying the 2005 World Health Organization HIV estimate (five and 15 percent of Russia’s sex workers) to the conservative 2016 estimate of 1 million sex workers suggests that between 50,000 and 150,000 Russian sex workers are currently infected with the HIV virus.
Whatever the rate of HIV among Russia’s prostitutes and other sex workers, Russia is currently experiencing a tremendous and terrible HIV epidemic.
An estimated 1.2 million Russians (out of about 143.4 million) had HIV in 2014, according to the International Business Times.
Russia accounts for over half of all the new HIV cases in all of Europe. (RELATED: Russia Is Such A Backwater Dump Nobody Wants To Study It Anymore)
In 2015, Russia’s leading AIDS expert, Vadim Pokrovsky, warned that some 2 million Russians could be HIV-positive by 2020 unless the government changes its policies, according to The Guardian.