Early diagnosis, judicious treatment and safe sex guarantee a long life for those who are HIV positive.
Dr. Zorrilla, Researcher, infectologist and professor at the Medical Sciences campus, and Dr. Javier Morales, pioneering researcher on the subject of the HIV virus (AIDS). Photo: Medicine and Public Health Magazine / Provided by the specialists.
“In Puerto Rico, clinical trials are being carried out where the receptors are being blocked, so that the immune system attacks those lymphocytes that are loaded with the virus, to see if it can destroy them,” he stated in an interview with the Journal of Medicine and Health. Publica, Dr. Javier Morales, pioneering researcher in the VIH del virus theme (SIDA).
It all begins with the diagnosis, not only for those who have had contact at risk, or who have various sexual partners, but for the entire population in general that has an active sexual life, this diagnosis is achieved by carrying out the test, a rapid process , and that allows to avoid future complications.
“No one dies of HIV anymore, we have to remove that myth of the test, this is the solution, they should be treated so that they grow old, and last as long as they have to last with HIV or without HIV, because nobody dies anymore if follows his treatment”, clarifies Dr. Morales.
It begins with a rapid test that does not take more than 20 minutes to provide an answer. Once the result is obtained, if it is negative, the process must be repeated after 6 months, but if the result is positive, it must be performed. another confirmatory test that takes more time.
“The virus of HIV replicates every 6.3 hours, in a positive person every 6 hours there can be a change to chance in that genetic code, the virus that a patient has today is not the same one that they have in 2 or 3 weeks and what mutates most in HIV is the virus capsule”, says Dr. Zorrilla, Researcher, infectologist and professor at the Medical Sciences campus, explaining so the vaccines are designed mainly to attack that outer layer of the virus, but by not knowing these mutations that are generated, all effectiveness is lost.
There are different test types and accessibility At the same time, currently many of the places that perform them are free, on the other hand, there are oral tests that can be bought at pharmacies, rapid tests with a single finger prick; There are many possibilities to access it, even more so considering that they are totally confidential, both the performance and the result.
“More than 40 years ago, an HIV test was a death sentence, as there was no treatment, patients already with symptoms refused to take the test, today in day with modern treatmentsI don’t remember a disciplined patient with his treatments dying in the last 15 years,” says Dr. Morales.
One of the biggest strategies that it currently has to mitigate the progress of the virus in society is the adherence to treatment of those patients who are positive, given that having a treatment for more than 6 months with total adherence, the virus present in this patient, its number of replicas decreases, becoming undetectable and likewise it is untransmissible, (Undetectable = Untransmittable) closing the transmission cycle.
“The test is so important because 10% to 15% of people who have HIV don’t know they have it, given that they don’t have symptoms. If this patient knows that he is positive, the multidisciplinary care wheel begins, stopping the transmission to others” says Dr. Zorrilla.
The disclosure of the diagnosis is a process of each patient, neither doctor nor family should influence it, it should not be forced, nor are they obliged as patients to reveal it or communicate it to someone specifically, neither personally nor at work, each person You are free to disclose this information to whomever you wish and you must bear in mind that when you want to do so, you must be able to count on emotional and psychological support, without feeling overwhelmed or putting your integrity at risk due to your environment or the reactions of the people you decide to tell them.
Today, it is recommended that everyone over 13 years of age be tested at least once in their life, but despite the fact that there is more insistence on performing the test for those who have risk conditions, such as those who think who may be exposed, those who have multiple sexual partners or unprotected sex; it is important to know that this is an individual prevention factor.
Therefore, for those who have a monogamous relationship, they must be clear that it is not bad to take the test from time to time, having as a precept that care and health are individual issues; and it may be that each person is aware of what decisions he makes, but not about the decisions that her partner makes.
“One of the most famous studies of HIV treatment, which recruited couples where one was positive and the other was negative, and both entered the study as a couple, a number of people became infected not from the partner with whom they entered the study, but from another person, it is also very important to seek the test, because one knows where one has been, but not where the others have been”, explained Dr. Carmen.
Confirming the test is the step that must be taken before starting to talk about changes and treatments.
The treatment for this disease is for life, each patient must take it day by day, without fail, taking into account that depending on the variants of the virus, it can or could develop resistance to drugs if variations are made or if it is consumed sporadically , causing patients to lose their undetectability or become infected with some opportunistic disease.
Prevention and sexual responsibility should be the main objective when having an active sexual life, compared to those who are already positive and have adherence to treatment, and are exposed to sexual intercourse without a condom or irresponsibly, it can happen that a virus that is resistant to drugs, recontaminating itself with a possibly stronger virus, which it has and can worsen its health.
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