1 December World AIDS Day

 

1 December World AIDS Day

 

17.1 million people HIV infected people are not aware that they are HIV positive

 

The purpose of the workshop was to determine the best possible diagnostic procedures based on early diagnosis and effective counselling and to find out approaches suitable for Turkey on ethical level in order to bring the infection under control by gathering all data available with a multi-disciplinary approach. Following conclusions have been reached in the report prepared under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Gülden Çelik from Yeditepe University on behalf of  the Organising Committee and Kenan Midilli from İstanbul University.

Names of HIV infected people remain confidential. HIV infection is a chronic disease which can be treated and we have come to a stage today that infected people can continue their lives without any limitation. The first condition for this is early diagnosis and to get under medical care. For this reason, access to right information, get informed and inform others. Do not refrain from being tested or getting pre-test advice.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that 17. 1million infected people are not even aware of their situation.

One of the most important issues in the fight against HIV is to inform society in order to stop discrimination against people who are infected with HIV and prevent their exclusion from society. This is a common infection in this era and it may infect anyone who is not informed about modes of transmission and yet does not take any precaution for protection against the disease. Modes of transmission of the virus are known: Having unprotected sex, via transfusion of blood contaminated with HIV, from an infected mother to her baby before or during birth. Transmission may also occur via breast milk during lactation.

It is also known that HIV infection is not spread by being in the same social environment, by casual touching, hugging, sharing items of daily use like towels or cutlery. Infected people can be protected against AIDS and reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people by starting the treatment on time.  If  pregnant mothers are monitored with routine anti-natal check ups and tests during pregnancy or at least with tests during delivery both the mother and the child can be protected.

People should be aware of the infection and should not refrain from getting tested.

Following the transmission of the virus, in 40-80% of infected people temporary symptoms which last 7-14 days are seen within the first 3-6 weeks. These symptoms are: fever, rash, mouth ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, feeling tired all the time, unexplained weight loss, sore throat and night sweats.  In the early days of the infection the virus reproduces at very high levels and therefore infected people have very high level of virus in their blood and they are much more likely to transmit the virus.

Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was first defined 33 years ago in 1982 and it has been understood  in a very short period of time what kind of a global pandemic it could turn into and therefore  extensive work has been carried out in order to prevent the spread of the infection. World Health Organisation designated 1 December as World AIDS Day to raise awareness  on HIV virus and AIDS, to raise concern over the efforts striven and participation and cooperation at a global scale.

  AIDS is classified as a chronic disease and those who have been infected with the virus are able to continue their lives without any limitation. World Health Organisation aims that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status on HIV virus, 90 % of all people diognised with HIV infection will receive will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 % of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy vill have viral supression.

However, in 2014:

  • Although there has been a 35% decrease in the rates of HIV infection in comparison to the rates in 2000, 36.9 people in the world are infected with HIV.
  • Although 3.4 million people were infected with HIV in 2000, the number of newly infected people in 2014 is 2 million.
  • Although there has been a 56 % decrease in com  parison to the rates in 2000, there are 220.000 newly infected children.
  • Although there has been a 42 % decrease in the rate of deaths caused by AIDS, 1.2 million people died from AIDS related causes.
  • More than 20 million people infected with the virus do not have access to treatment: 41 % of infected people, 32% of children and 72 % of infected pregnant women can receive treatment. 
  • Even in countries with high level of income, 1/5 of infected people are not aware of their status.
  • The number of infected people in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Middle Asia is rapidly increasing.

Although Turkey is among the countries with the lowest prevalance, it is observed that there is a striking increase in the number of people diagnosed with the infection. The total number of diagnosed people with HIV infection was 9.191 last year (2014) and the the number of newly infected people was 1585 within the same year. 80 % of infected people are male, 90 % of all incidences are between the ages of 20-59 and sexual transmission is the leading mode of transmission in 43.91 % of the cases. Data about 2015 indicate a similar trend.