The most important approach to prevent AIDS is to be protected
European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty Member Medical Microbiologist Asst. Prof. Dr. Yağmur Ekenoğlu Merdan made a statement on December 1, World Aids Day.
“Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by the” Human Immunodeficiency Virus “(HIV). HIV targets the immune system and makes the body’s defense system susceptible to infections and some types of cancer, ”he said. He stated that December 1 has been declared as World AIDS Day.
“Since the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, HIV infection has risen to pandemic rates and today about 38 million people are HIV-infected. HIV, which has killed approximately 33 million people so far, continues to be an important global public health problem and is one of the most important public health problems worldwide, with severe individual consequences as well as its spread to large masses and its social consequences.
Saying that access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services, including life-threatening opportunistic infections that accompany HIV infection, has increased today, Merdan pointed out that HIV infection has become a manageable chronic disease and patients can now lead a long, high quality and healthy life.
“Contrary to what is known wrongly, AIDS does not occur in every HIV positive person. Being HIV positive means having HIV in the person’s body. HIV is a chronic infection characterized by weakening of the immune system and vulnerability to opportunistic infections. The person can continue his life for many years without any symptoms. AIDS; It is the stage where the immune system is vulnerable to infections and cancers caused by the HIV virus, and it is life threatening. The HIV virus is not always a disease that leads to AIDS. It may take 2 to 15 years for AIDS to develop in HIV-positive individuals, depending on the individual. With early diagnosis and developing treatment conditions, HIV-positive people can survive for many years before entering the AIDS period ”.
Stating that HIV infection is not yet a complete cure, however, effective antiretroviral (ARV) drugs can control the virus and prevent transmission, Merdan said, “With regular medication, the average life expectancy of HIV-positive individuals is brought closer to the life expectancy of healthy individuals. The first condition for this is that HIV-positive individuals start treatment as early as possible. For early diagnosis and treatment, it should not be hesitated to have tests and consult a doctor in case of suspicious risk situations ”.
Stating that “the most important approach to prevent AIDS is protection”, Merdan stated that it is extremely important to raise social awareness in order to ensure early diagnosis and prevention, and it is necessary to learn and raise awareness of the ways of transmission and protection in order to prevent the disease and listed the transmission routes as follows;
• HIV can be transmitted through the body fluids of infected people, such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions.
• HIV-positive can be transmitted from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.
• HIV is not transmitted through ordinary daily contact such as kissing, hugging, handshaking or sharing personal belongings, food, water.
Merdan, “Early diagnosis; It is very important in terms of effective treatment of the person and preventing the transmission of people who are not aware of the disease to other individuals in the society. When experiencing any of the risky behaviors, it is absolutely necessary to have an HIV test. HIV testing of individuals who have unprotected sexual intercourse, intravenous drug addiction and using common syringes, pregnant women (at the earliest period), exposed to sexual assault, diagnosed with tuberculosis or sexually transmitted infection before marriage, after injury with suspicious equipment is recommended ”and expressed the behaviors that increase the risk in terms of contamination as follows;
- Unprotected sexual intercourse and high number of partners
- Having another sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea and bacterial vaginosis
• Use or sharing of contaminated needles, syringes, and other injection equipment
• Use of non-sterile tattoo, piercing and acupuncture devices
• Injury of healthcare workers with a contaminated needle or sharp piercing instrument.
Finally, “Raising social awareness is of great importance for early diagnosis and prevention. In addition, updating the information on the subject in formal and non-formal education curricula and increasing information / awareness activities and campaigns with written and visual documents in order to reduce the number of new cases will be our most important helpers in our fight against HIV / AIDS.