US First Lady Michelle Obama visits UNDP projects in Moscow

07 Jul 2009

Michelle Obama visited the St. Dimitry Sisterhood Medical Nurses College in Moscow
Michelle Obama visited the St. Dimitry Sisterhood Medical Nurses College in Moscow.
Photo: Andrei Radkevich
Moscow – Today, US First Lady Michelle Obama visited St. Dimitry Sisterhood Medical Nurses College in Moscow, a nursing school that cares for people living with HIV/AIDS. While there, she stressed the need for more information and education to reduce stigma and raise awareness about how to care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Ms. Obama, who worked previously as an executive for University of Chicago Hospitals, also shared her experience in the health care field and noted the importance of the work.

Created in 1992, the college trains nurses to care for people living with HIV/AIDS as part of a larger UNDP project funded by USAID. St. Dimitry Sisterhood and Medical Nurses College aims to contribute to the decrease in HIV and AIDS incidence in the Russian Federation and mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the population by involving the Russian Orthodox Church in the prevention of the spread of the epidemic, reduction of stigma and discrimination, and provision of care and support to people living with HIV and AIDS.

Sister Olga, project coordinator, emphasized that many more people, including youth and children, need this kind of support. “Our sisters are helping families with HIV-positive members as well as HIV-positive children living in orphanages,” she said.

The HIV epidemic in the Russian Federation continues to grow, though not as rapidly as in late 1990s. The annual number of newly-registered HIV cases declined between 2001 and 2003 (from a peak of 87,000 to 34,000), but has risen again subsequently. In 2007, 42,770 new HIV cases were officially recorded, bringing the total number of HIV cases registered in the Russian Federation to about 416,113. According to the latest official statistics of the Federal AIDS Centre of the Russian Federation as of 1 January 2009, there are 469,016 HIV cases registered in Russia among country citizens.

For more information, visit hivrussia.ru (in Russian) and the UNDP Russia Web site.

UNDP works to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and reduce its impact. As a trusted development partner, and co-sponsor of UNAIDS, it helps countries put HIV/AIDS at the centre of national development and poverty reduction strategies; build national capacity to mobilize all levels of government and civil society for a coordinated and effective response to the epidemic; and protect the rights of people living with AIDS, women, and vulnerable populations. Because HIV/AIDS is a world-wide problem, UNDP supports these national efforts by offering knowledge, resources and best practices from around the world.