Kurdistan Region records 54 positive HIV cases, says health minister
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Out of over 538,000 tests conducted in 2022, the Kurdistan Region’s health authorities have detected 54 positive cases of HIV, the virus that causes the sexually transmitted disease of AIDS.
Health Minister Saman Barzinji on Thursday released the figures on the occasion of World AIDS Day which is annually observed in the Kurdistan Region to raise awareness of the hard-to-treat condition.
Out of the 58 confirmed positive cases, 40 of them were “foreigners”, the health chief said, without elaborating further. The rest are Iraqis, he added.
Erbil director of health, Dilovan Mohammad, in a press conference said that testing for the virus has increased since 2004 by 20 times.
Iraq’s Kurdish region conducted 300,000 tests last year, according to official figures.
HIV tests are mandatory in the Kurdistan Region for obtaining residency permits. They are also mandatory for healthcare workers at blood banks and surgeons. These mandatory tests aim to reduce the risk of the virus spreading in the autonomous region.
Every December 1, countries worldwide mark this day by raising awareness of AIDS, commemorating those who lost their lives to the virus, and showing support for those suffering from the disease.
HIV is a virus that attacks the human body’s immune system. If left untreated, it will gradually lead to AIDS, which stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The long incubation period between the initial infection and the first symptoms has long worried public health officials.
Four decades after its identification, there is still no cure or vaccine for AIDS.