Russian TV host Pavel Lobkov made history last week with an announcement on live television that he's HIV-positive.

Lobkov is the first major Russian figure to publicly discuss his status and the stigma he's faced.

“The doctor, with a face like a Soviet buddha, told me, 'You can no longer use the program of voluntary medical insurance because you've been diagnosed with HIV,'” Lobkov told his audience during Tuesday's World AIDS Day broadcast.

Lobkov said that he hopes to promote greater tolerance by coming forward.

He explained that his 2003 diagnosis led to him being excluded from his employer's insurance and that doctors refused to treat him.

“It's not the done thing to talk for real [about HIV],” Lobkov said. “Maybe after this shock there will be a discussion about what these medicines are, and are there enough doctors specializing in this, is their knowledge adequate to treat HIV infections?”

The number of new HIV cases in Russia is rising, up 12 percent this year as of November 1.

“The government can fight social phobias, it should have information campaigns on tolerance, acceptance,” Lobkov said. “If there will be tolerance, people will go do [HIV] tests, then they will go [to] therapy, and the epidemic will start to die.”