We passed more than thirty check points and arrived fifteen minutes after the border closed, so we had to stay in a small building prepared especially for such cases. We were with about 300 people, many of them children. It was freezing and the conditions were very poor in this crowded small place, and I developed severe influenza.
The next morning, we crossed the border and were directly transported to a Turkish city. My wife and I were two of the lucky ones.
The situation of Syrians living with HIV/AIDS, inside and outside the country, is desperate. There is a severe lack of health supplies, such as drugs, vaccines, laboratory and diagnostic materials, and surgical instruments in the region. This has an obvious impact on access to treatment for HIV and other infectious diseases.
Today, it is estimated that there are about 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, some of them live in refugee camps, while others are scattered in different Turkish cities. Many were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Syria and were receiving treatment before the war. Now the situation has changed. Many are afraid to be stigmatized if they declare their status as HIV-positive.
The strain of the war in Syria and surge of refugees in its bordering countries makes it difficult to accurately report on the scale of the HIV epidemic in the region, let alone the actual number of people receiving treatment. However, the conditions in refugee camps in Turkey are much better than in neighbouring countries because the Turkish government provides free health services to all Syrian refugees in Turkey. It is believed that the impact of HIV/AIDS among Syrian refugees is far worse in Lebanon and Jordan, which have fewer refugees with around 1.2 million and 650 thousand respectively.