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narcotics users, bisexuals/homosexuals, and prostitutes.

Despite all these factors, the number of confirmed HIV infections has remained relatively low in the region. Prior to its dissolution, the Soviet Union was virtually isolated from the influences of the West. In the early years of the epidemic in the United States, news about the “Western problem” of AIDS was frequently in the Soviet press. Because homosexual activity and injecting drug use were illegal under Soviet law, officials were confident that HIV/AIDS would never be a problem in their country.