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Surveillance of HIV in the army of the Republic of Cyprus (SHARC); rationale, design, and implementation of an inexpensive system

Abstract

Objectives: To design and implement an HIV surveillance system using periodic cross sectional prevalence surveys in National Guard recruits of the Republic of Cyprus.

Methods: HIV infection surveillance used unlinked anonymous screening (UAS) methodology, which tested residual blood originally collected for other purposes. Residual blood from samples collected for ABO blood group typing at intake and samples from blood collected for hepatitis testing at discharge was used. Screening was unlinked and anonymous.

Results: The system operated for four semiannual recruitment seasons: summer 1998 to the end of winter 2000. No recruits screened at entry into the ranks tested positive.

Conclusions: This was the first large scale HIV surveillance project in Cyprus. Without nationwide HIV surveys, periodic measurements of prevalence could lead to estimates of HIV incidence and provide insights on temporal changes in HIV infection rates. The prevalence data collected provide useful epidemiological information about the status of the HIV epidemic in this segment of the population in Cyprus.

  • HIV surveillance
  • Cyprus
  • army

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