EMU Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Marks World Aids Day
Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty academic staff member Asst. Dr. Mevhibe B. Hocaoğlu released a statement regarding the 1st of December World AIDS Day. Asst. Dr. Hocaoğlu’s statement is as follows:
HIV is a sexually transmitted virus which uses blood and other bodily fluids for transmission. It has a long incubation period and eventuates in immune system deficiency which then forms a set of syndromes causing the death of the patient. There are 3 tests to find out whether a person is a HIV carrier or not. These are the Antibody Test, the Combination Test (or the 4th Generation Test) and the NAT test which examines both the antibodies and antigens to determine whether or not the virus exists in the blood. Neither of the tests can find traces of the virus right after it has been transmitted to the body. The Antibody Test detects the virus after 3-12 weeks of transmission while the Combination Test can detect it in 2-6 weeks and NAT Test in 1-4 weeks. Antibody Tests are not carried out in the TRNC. There are 35 cases in TRNC, 7882 in Turkey and 500 in South Cyprus. However it is assumed that the actual number of cases is much higher and most of the carriers are avoiding taking HIV tests because of the fear of being stigmatized by and alienated from the society. Globally, 36.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, 2 million new cases are emerging annually and 1.1 million deaths are caused by AIDS. Sub-Saharan African nations are considered to be the main region of transmission and in Middle Eastern countries the number of cases has increased by 33% due to the conflicts and violence. Research reveals that 50% of the cases are in America and %25 percent in France. The triggering risk factors for the transmission of this disease are mainly underdevelopment, poverty and ignorance.
Risk factors in TRNC can be considered as the lack of collaborations about HIV which is a mutual health issue in both sides of the island due to the protracted political deadlock, emerging of double standards, becoming a more conservative society due to being left out of the European Union, not being in dialogue with other European Union countries, legal and human right violations such as human trafficking and sex workers, insufficient war on drugs and prison conditions.
One of the most important improvements in the TRNC has been the steps taken regarding people that are diagnosed HIV positive. The Transmittable Disease Bill that has been presented to the parliament for discussion and the surveillance systems it suggest are of the utmost importance. HIV can be prevented in three ways; physically (contraception), biochemically (like PrEP or PEP) or immunologically (vaccinations). Currently the firm Johnson and Johnson’s vaccination trials are ongoing.