What you need to know:
December 1st has been commemorated as World AIDS Day since 1988.
He December 1st was declared as the World AIDS Day by the United Nations General Assembly in 1988. The purpose? Raise awareness about the disease, end stigmas and focus the necessary resources to respond to the Pandemic.
According to UNAIDS —the global effort to end the AIDS Pandemic—during 2022 39 million people were living with HIV worldwide.
And it is estimated that 1.3 million people became infected during that same year worldwide.
Although there has been important progress worldwide, the organization estimates that 630 thousand people lost their lives worldwide in 2022, 69% less compared to 2004.
What is HIV and what is AIDS?
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virusIt’s about a retrovirus that infects the cells of the human immune system —the defenses, then— to destroy or damage them. That is why the infection lowers the immune system which in turn translates into immunodeficiency, a weakening of the body’s ability to defend itself against foreign agents.
People with immunodeficiency are much more vulnerable to infections of all kinds, diseases in general and cancers.
But it is not the same as AIDS. He AIDS is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and is defined as the series of symptoms and infections as a result of HIV. That is, the AIDS is a negative and more advanced evolution of HIV.
In accordance with UNAIDSthe majority of people who become infected with HIV and are not treated begin to present symptoms of AIDS between eight and ten years.
How does HIV evolve?
He HIV can be found andn body fluids of the infected person such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. So, the virus can be transmitted through unprotected and penetrative sexual contact, blood transfusions, injections, as well as from mother to child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
If, due to any of the above circumstances, a person comes into contact with HIV, the majority do not immediately present symptoms, although some cases report infectious mononucleosis which is accompanied by fever, rash, joint pain, or swollen lymph nodes. This occurs more or less between one and two months after infection.
To treat HIV infection, a treatment based on antiretrovirals is used, which blocks the reproduction of the virus in the body and while the person is on treatment, they cannot transmit it.
This is what is referred to when talking about a patient with an undetectable viral load: when the amount of virus in the blood is below the test’s detection limit.
HIV figures in Mexico
According to statistics from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, In 2021 the mortality rate from HIV/AIDS was 3.7 people per 100 thousand inhabitants. In the case of men the rate is 6.3 and in women 1.2.
The states with the most HIV-related deaths are Veracruz followed by Mexico City, Jalisco and the State of Mexico.
According to the HIV Epidemiological Surveillance System report of the Ministry of Health (SSA), since 1983 and until the first half of 2022, 341,313 people have been diagnosed with HIV in Mexico. Of this total, 278,599 (81.6%) are men and 62,714 (18.4%) are women.
From 2010 to July 2022 168,293 new cases of HIV were diagnosed. In 2018, the highest prevalence was detected, with 17,486 cases.
Until June 2022, on the platform of the Antiretroviral Administration, Logistics and Surveillance System (SALVAR) of the Ministry of Health, 121,835 people were registered on antiretroviral treatment with active status.
Although education regarding this disease has improved over the years, stigmas and discrimination against people who suffer from it still exist and reproduce myths that must be debunked. For example:
- I can become infected with HIV if I kiss (intense or not) a person.
Not really. Kissing on the mouth does not represent a risk for transmitting the virus and at present there is no evidence that it can be transmitted through saliva.
- Having sexual relations with people living with HIV guarantees contagion
Not necessarily. If the person is under active and adequate treatment with antiretrovirals, the virus is completely suppressed and cannot be transmitted. But the recommendation is to practice safe sex with female and/or male condoms.
- If two people with HIV have sex, they should not protect themselves because they are already infected.
Fake. The best thing for a person with HIV is not to become infected with a different strain, which is why safe sex is important at all times.
- I can become infected by being around or touching a person with HIV.
No. As we mentioned previously, contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluids or breast milk is necessary, in the case of babies.
- HIV is a death sentence
No. Although there is currently no cure for HIV, nor a vaccine – although exciting tests are being carried out – the treatment is effective and if applied immediately and regularly, the person has access to quality of life and a hope of life similar to that of uninfected people.
- I can become infected if I am bitten by a mosquito that bit a person with HIV.
No, this is not how the virus is transmitted. The insect cannot become infected and therefore cannot infect a human being.
Remember, if you have already started your sexual life, you can get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases regularly to detect an infection, treat it in time and prevent it from spreading to other people. Always practice safe sex, using male and female condoms appropriately.
Having HIV does not take away any rights. No one can ask you for an HIV test to give you a job or to discriminate against you in any other area of life. Test results are confidential and no one has access to them except you, unless you want otherwise.
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