Almost as soon as two HIV-prevention activists set up outside the pharmacy in the outskirts of Moscow with two huge backpacks of supplies, a skinny young man with mussed hair and an impish grin quickly walked up to them.
“Do you have any ointment?” he asked, lifting up the leg of his tracksuit trousers to show a mass of red sores.
Asking what else he might need, the activists put ointments, bandages and clean needles in a plastic bag.
“I don’t have any immunity, and this stuff is expensive in the pharmacy,” the young man said, giving his name only as Pavel, 28. His health problems arose from drinking and injecting heroin.
Asked if he takes steps to protect himself from contracting the Aids-related virus, he said he got clean needles, condoms and advice from the activists from the Andrey Rylkov Foundation.