Access to treatment, timely diagnosis and control of stigma are major problems in the fight against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which affects 36.9 million people.
“There is a very big problem of discrimination: wrong ideas, stigmata, prejudices and the continuation of the belief that there are only risk groups that will be affected are the most important issues,” said Dr. Javier Baez Villaseor, who said to Efe on the occasion of the Day . World AIDS Day, which is celebrated on December 1.
The specialist said that only 21.7 million patients have access to treatment in the world, "therefore the challenge is to reach as many people who do not have access, either for economic reasons or because they are not aware of their condition ".
The associate medical director of virology at the MSD pharmaceutical company said that although there are still no drugs for this disease, "thanks to the treatment innovations, it was achieved that the patient lives for many decades with a good standard of living."
That is why this disease is no longer fatal, but another serious problem is to understand why, despite all the information that exists on this issue, people continue to be infected. “This is a great mystery 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, ”the specialist explained.
A former employee of the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV / AIDS in Mexico (Censida) noted that women are one of the sectors vulnerable to this disease.
“There are still alarming numbers, such as daily HIV infection of thousands of women between the ages of 15 and 24, despite the fact that it is transmitted only through the genital, perinatal, and blood ways,” he explained.
In fact, according to him, women make up about half of infected adults, and HIV is the main cause of death among women of reproductive age.
This is due to the fact that, especially in rural areas, women have little opportunity to make important decisions about their sex life, in addition to suffering from gender inequality, differential access to health services and sexual violence.
“They are more socially vulnerable, in lower income groups, and this puts them in a more compromised situation,” he explained.
He added that it is necessary to expand women's rights to make decisions and control their sex life.
Baes Villaseor said that in the fight against this disease, significant progress has been made in terms of prevention of perinatal and bloody routes.
“The big problem is still infection through sex, but governments cannot participate in decisions that are so personal,” the expert said.
In this regard, he noted that people should be aware of their practice, “they should protect themselves, prevention will always be better than treatment, and we should all contribute to progress in a world without HIV / AIDS,” he said.
Similarly, he confirmed that, although preventive measures are being taken to prevent infection, although they should be taken with great caution, "he should be under medical advice because he is not exempt from side effects and adverse reactions."
He also said that no drug will reduce the risk of contracting the virus to zero, so no one should be trusted, always adhere to the practice of safe sex, take responsibility for our health and fight until we succeed in mastering HIV in the future. – he finished.