United youth fight against HIV/AIDS

United youth fight against HIV/AIDS

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
United youth fight against HIV/AIDS

Dec. 1 Young Initiative Platform members gathered on Ankara’s Sakarya Avenue and said that four of every 10 young people with the HIV virus were young. AA photo

Members from the Dec. 1 Young Initiative Platform, which is supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), united in Ankara for World AIDS Day yesterday.

Wearing red shawls and carrying banners, young platform members came together shouting slogans on Sakarya Avenue, Anatolia news agency reported.

Speaking on behalf of the group, an initiative representative, Zeynep Başaran, said four of every 10 people with the HIV virus were young people and that nine of 10 Turkish youth did not know about HIV/AIDS.

Başaran said sexual health education should be provided in schools to help educate against the transmission of HIV/ AIDS since it was difficult for young people to obtain correct information about the issue.

Professor İftihar Köksal of the Karadeniz Technical University (KTU) said that according to the Health Ministry’s report for Turkey, during the first six months of the year, 4,826 people were infected with HIV in the country. Women represented nearly a third of this figure, Köksal said. Patients were reluctant to health centers due to the taboo and public pressure around the issue, she added.

HIV spreading in Europe, AIDS cases declining

HIV infections have continued to rise in Europe in 2010, according to a report released Nov. 30. “The new data raises concerns about the continuing transmission of HIV in Europe,” the World Health Organization’s Europe office and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in their joint report, published a day before World AIDS Day.

Last year, 27,116 new cases of HIV infections were reported in the European Union and European Economic Area, which is an increase of around 4 percent from 2009, according to the report, which added that statistics from Austria and Liechtenstein had not been accessible.

As a result of effective treatment, however, the number of cases of AIDS has dramatically declined in recent years. “In contrast, the steady decrease of AIDS cases continued in 2010 with 4,666 reported cases in the EU/EEA region,” the report published the day before World AIDS Day said, pointing out that this constituted a drop of almost 50 percent from 2004 and stressing the importance of early HIV detection in controlling the AIDS epidemic.

According to a U.N. report published last week, a record 34 million people worldwide lived with HIV last year, while improved treatment has meant that the number of AIDS-linked deaths has steadily dropped from a peak of 2.2 million in 2005 to 1.8 million last year. It also stated that about half of those eligible for treatment are now receiving it, saving the lives of approximately 700,000 people in 2010.