Azerbaijan runs events marking European AIDS-Testing Week

On 29th November the Surgical Training Clinic of Azerbaijan Medical University (AMU) held sessions connected with European AIDS-Testing Week.

The event was organised by AYOR (the Azerbaijan Youth Organisation of Russia) and was attended by students and teaching staff of the University, and representatives of the National Centre for AIDS Prevention.

AYOR's speaker on medical matters, Samir Aliyev, gave the background history of the identification and treatment of AIDS – one of the most threatening infectious diseases in today's modern world.

The Vice-Rector of the Azerbaijan Medical University, Professor Ibrahim Isayev, said that this was the first year in which Azerbaijan had participated in European AIDS-Testing Week – which takes place all over Europe from 22nd to 29th of November.  It means that events involving students of universities, tertiary education colleges and institutes will be held across the entire country.  A reinforced level of combat with the worldwide threat posed by the AIDS virus lies behind this initiative, said Professor Isayev.

Dr Esmira Almamedova – Director of the National Centre for AIDS Prevention – drew the attention of attendees to the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Azerbaijan, and outlined the measures being deployed to combat this terrifying disease.

Dr Almamedova went on to state that the numbers of those infected with AIDS in Azerbaijan are not great – but that the number of men infected with the disease is greatly higher than women. 80% of diagnosed cases are men, whereas 20% are women. Furthermore, AIDS is a disease centred primarily on young people. Thirty-five percent of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS are aged 40-49.

Mentioning that 30% of those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Azerbaijan are detainees in the country's prisons, Dr Almamedova went on to state that regular and prompt HIV tests were vital in halting the spread of the disease.

Other speakers at the event said that HIV/AIDS is not only a serious medical issue, but a socio-economic and legal problem. They underscored the need for public awareness in the fight against this illness.

During the day's events was a screening of a documentary film about AIDS, made by the Russian social awareness campaign “Red Ribbon”.