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Access to treatment, timely diagnosis and stigma are the challenges against HIV

Access to treatment, timely diagnosis and combating stigma are the main challenges in the fight against the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which affects 36.9 million people.

“There is a very big problem of discrimination: the wrong ideas, the stigmata, the prejudices and to continue believing that there are only risk groups that will be affected are the most important challenges,” Dr. Javier Báez Villaseñor told Efe on the occasion of the Day. World AIDS Day that is commemorated on December 1.

The specialist said that only 21.7 million patients have access to treatment in the world “so the challenge is to reach that number of people who do not have access, either for economic reasons or because they are unaware of their condition”.

The associate medical director of virology of the pharmaceutical company MSD said that while there is still no cure for the disease “thanks to innovations in treatments has been achieved that the patient lives many decades with a good standard of living.”

That is why this disease is no longer mortal, however, another of the great challenges is to understand why, despite all the information that exists on the matter, people continue to get infected. “It is a great enigma that we face,” he said.

“In 2018, 1.2 million people in the world were infected, the question is: why? We know how to avoid it, but there are still infections,” explained the specialist.
The former official of the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV and AIDS in Mexico (Censida) noted that women are one of the sectors vulnerable to the disease.

“There are still worrying figures such as the daily HIV infection of a thousand women between 15 and 24 years old, despite the fact that it is only transmitted through sexual, perinatal and blood routes,” he explained.

In fact, he said, women account for about half of infected adults and HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age.

This is explained because, especially in rural areas, women have little capacity to make important decisions about their sexual life, in addition to suffering from gender inequality, differentiated access to health services and sexual violence.
“They are more vulnerable socially, in populations with less income and this puts them in a more compromised situation,” he explained.
He added that it is necessary to empower women in their decisions and control of their sexual life.

Báez Villaseñor said that in the fight against this disease have made significant progress in terms of prevention perinatal and blood routes.
“The big challenge is still infection through sex, but in this, governments can not get involved in decisions that are so personal,” said the expert.

In this regard, he pointed out that people should be aware of their practices, “they should protect themselves, prevention will always be better than cure, and we should all contribute to progress in a world without HIV / AIDS,” he said.

In the same way, he affirmed that although there are currently prophylactic treatments that serve to prevent infection, although it must be taken with great care “it must be under medical advice, because it is not exempt from adverse effects and secondary reactions”.

He also said that no drug will lower the risk of contracting the virus to zero “so no one should be trusted, always follow safe sex practices, take responsibility for our health and fight until we succeed in the future to master HIV “he finished. (EFEUSA) .-

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