December 1 recalls the 30th anniversary of the World AIDS Day reminders. UN-AIDS at this global level has proposed a "know your country" for this occasion and calls on all people to be tested for HIV.
By 2017, around 37 million people living with HIV worldwide were infected, 1.8 million people were infected and 940,000 died. The reason for this slogan is based on the fact that the World Health Organization has long been backing the 90-90-90 Worldwide Prevention Strategy, originally designed by our compatriot Professor Julius Montaner, who basically focuses on 2020:
-90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status
related to HIV.
-90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiviral therapy
-90% of people taking antiviral therapy have viral suppression.
To highlight the importance of the role of treatment as a preventive measure, recent research categorically suggests that if HIV patients are properly detected and treated, the possibility of their transmission to heterosexual or homosexual partners is literally "zero". But in order for patients to be treated and their virus undetectable, you must first diagnose them (90th strategy).
Argentina suffers from HIV, 122,000 people, but only 70% know it; so the slogan "know your country" is also very suitable for our country and our city.
Unfortunately, obstacles to HIV testing still hinder many obstacles. Stigma and discrimination persist and do not lead people to undergo tests so patients are diagnosed late when they already suffer from AIDS symptoms and unfortunately infect others; In our city, the percentage of late patients is 30%.
HIV testing programs should be expanded and all sexually active people should be tested for HIV in the same way they control cholesterol or blood glucose; but no alarm, the vast majority
of these tests will be negative (approximately 99.6%) given that the prevalence of HIV in our country is low and positive will be offered very simple treatments that will remain clinically asymptomatic and will not infect others.
Unfortunately, we can not forget the fact that the use of condom use has recently been called into question, we have to say again and again that "condoms are very useful in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV." In addition, and in a different order, the use of prophylaxis is a measure of proven efficacy for prevent unwanted pregnancies.
In relation to prevention, new data has been published to indicate that antiviral drugs are being used prophylactically in people who are not infected (preventive prophylaxis or "PREP") to deal with sexual relations with the patient if you have HIV, a person who does not have HIV infection, does not become infected with pills every day; This strategy has proven to be very useful in some groups with a high risk of infection; it is not yet implemented in ours
As for the treatment of people infected with HIV, they are becoming more effective, with fewer side effects and many of them in a single pill.
Final control of the infectious disease is achieved with the vaccine, as was the case with pox and other infectious diseases; Although several studies are underway, it is to be expected that HIV vaccines will not be available in the near future.
HIV infection was and will be "a viral and not a moral disease"; and therefore must be subject to basic medical prescriptions such as early diagnosis (you know your condition), access to treatment and community education about preventive measures.
(*) Former Minister of Health of the Municipality.