There is an increase in the number of older people living with HIV

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Added On: 03 December 2019, Tuesday, 14:50
Last Edited On: 03 December 2019, Tuesday, 14:50
There is an increase in the number of older people living with HIV

Experimental Health Sciences Research Center of Near East University (DESAM) issued a message due to 01 December World AIDS Day and drew attention that there was an increase in the number of elderly people living with HIV.

According to the press info released by the Directorate of Press and Public Relations Office of Near East University, the message issued by DESAM underlines that there is no definitive treatment or protective vaccine for HIV infection but antiretroviral therapy has been successful in prolonging the lives of people living with HIV. In the message it is indicated that although antiretroviral drugs can’t cure HIV, these medications help people with HIV live longer and healthier lives and reduces the risk of HIV transmission.

In the message, DESAM underlines that there has been a steady increase in the number of people aged 50 or over living with HIV since 1995 and with this demographic growing, it is estimated that there are 4.2 million people aged 50 and over living with HIV today.

There is an increase on global scale…
In the message issued by DESAM, based on 2018 World Health Organization report, it is underlined that there were approximately 37.9 million people across the globe living with HIV/AIDS and an estimated 1.7 million people became newly infected with HIV and around 770,000 people worldwide died from AIDS-related diseases in 2018. Based on the WHO report, DESAM also highlights that the African region is the most prevalent of HIV, with 25.7 million people living with HIV.

In the message, DESAM also emphasizes that HIV can be seen all across the globe due to human mobility and globalization. It is stated that in 2014, 140,000 new HIV infections were identified in Europe, which was the highest number reported by the WHO European Regional Office since 1980s. The message issued by DESAM underlines that the statistical data provided by European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the WHO Regional Office for Europe shows that the HIV epidemic in Europe is growing, especially in Eastern Europe.

The Situation in Cyprus…
The message issued by DESAM also included a multi-disciplinary mathematical model study conducted by DESAM members to reveal epidemic character of HIV in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot Administration.

Within the scope of the study, by using data acquired from TRNC Health Ministry and WHO Regional Office in Southern Cyprus, DESAM created a mathematical model to reveal the epidemic character of HIV in Cyprus. Based on the results acquired from the study, it is envisioned that there is currently no HIV epidemic in both communities in Cyprus but if the necessary preventive measures are not taken, there will be an increase in the number of HIV positive individuals in both communities. The results of the study were reported and presented to the relevant authorities, especially the Ministry of Health, by DESAM.

What is HIV and how is it transmitted?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that causes suppression of the immune system by attacking and destroying cells that help the body fight infection. It may not show syptoms even after many years of being infected with HIV. Although it varies from person to person, if it left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) after an average of 5-10 years. Opportunistic infections and various cancers are common in the AIDS process. HIV can be transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, blood transfusions and mother-to-baby during pregnancy. However, it is not transmitted by social means such as kissing, being in the same environment or using the same item (toilet).

Why HIV cannot be prevented…
HIV, which has a very complex biodiversity, consists of two genotypes HIV-1 and HIV-2, as well as being capable of changing molecular capabilities. Although HIV complex biodiversity and its ability to change its molecular capabilities was discovered about 36 years ago, a preventive vaccine for HIV has not been discovered yet.