Cyprus Mail

Sex workers test positive for HIV, Hep B (updated)

The hotel is due to be built by the Phinikoudes coastal strip

By Peter Stevenson

Authorities on Tuesday urged people to seek medical assistance after two female sex workers tested positive for HIV and Hepatitis B in Larnaca.
Officials said a Greek woman, 23, was found to have Hepatitis B and a Cameroonian national, who is pregnant, was found to be HIV positive.

Head of medical services, Andreas Georgiou urged anyone who might have come into contact with anybody suspicious to visit the hospital to get checked.

“Both women were examined and given blood tests, one has Hepatitis B and the other is HIV positive. Our job now is to check them and treat them if possible,” he said.

Police spokesman Andreas Angelides told the Cyprus Mail on Tuesday that the women were tested after concerns had been raised last week.

The test results came back on Monday.

“A Bulgarian woman who is believed to be the Greek woman’s pimp was arrested to help the investigations and she will be questioned on the matter,” he said.

Angelides said that the police were in close cooperation with the medical services and were handling the case as discreetly as possible.

Police could not immediately provide an estimate of people who could be affected.

The two women have been officially recognised by Cypriot authorities as human trafficking victims and were being looked after by the welfare services.

“Victims of human trafficking, among other things, also implies these women were forced by the traffickers to provide certain services,” a statement from migrant support group KISA said.

According to KISA the two cases were completely unrelated and that the Cameroonian woman arrived from northern Cyprus seeking help from the Republic.

By law, third country nationals are required to show medical records which indicate a clean bill of health upon arrival to Cyprus.

However, sometimes they are also tested upon their arrival, head of KISA Doros Polycarpou said and it would appear the Cameroonian woman by-passed these checks by entering from the north.

Medical services chief Georgiou said anyone who may fear they have contracted an STD can visit their local hospital to get checked.

For both HIV and Hep B, Georgiou said, medical staff can provide information about the diseases, the treatment required and any preventative measures that should be taken.

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