Erbil records over 44 HIV cases in 2023, increase of 10 cases, says health director
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Health workers in the Kurdistan Region’s Erbil province have recorded 44 cases of HIV, the virus that causes the sexually transmitted disease of AIDS, since January this year, marking an increase of 10 cases, the health director told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
Out of over 307,000 tests conducted in 2023, at least 44 HIV cases have been detected, of whom 28 are foreign nationals while the rest are Iraqi citizens, including those from the capital, Dr. Dilovan Mohammed, the head of Erbil Health Directorate, told Kurdistan 24.
The HIV infection figures last year stood at 34, he said, adding the increase has been detected among the foreigners.
The General Directorate of Health in Erbil held an awareness-raising seminar early Sunday, two days after World AIDS Day, which fell on Friday, a weekend in the Kurdistan Region.
Dr. Mohammad, in a press conference last year, 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.
Additional reporting by Kurdistan 24 Erbil reporter Hero Mawloodi