Focus on HIV Focus on HIV

Focus on HIV

WITH YOUR BODY 17 December, 2020 Ana María López de Mesa

December 1st is World AIDS Day, an opportunity to catch up on the advances in HIV treatment as well as the challenges which still face patients and treating physicians.

Sebastián Jiménez
Medical specialist in Auditing and High Management in Health, with a master’s degree in HIV

Find more information about HIV on our website

Today, HIV is considered a chronic condition like hypertension or diabetes. It’s not like it was 30 years ago when there was no antiretroviral therapy and the diagnosis was fatal. A lot of progress has been made, both in available treatments and in health programs. However, more education on the subject is needed in order to reduce the stigma and also to promote prevention. This would allow more tests to be done for early diagnosis and, consequently, achieve a much more efficient immunovirological recovery. The awareness process is not only for the general public, but also for health personnel who need to free themselves from prejudices about this condition in order to provide better care, since treatment is determined according to each person’s particular conditions. For specialist Sebastián Jiménez, the biggest challenge is in rural areas, where even getting an HIV test can result in a safety risk, even though a patient, with proper treatment, can stop transmitting the virus and just be a carrier.•

All the tools

According to specialist Sebastián Jiménez, Colombia has one of the most robust HIV care programs, thanks to the Ministry of Health’s Clinical Practical Guidelines (2014). In addition, there is a wide availability of antiretroviral drugs, prophylactics, and tests.

16.4% was the increase in HIV cases in Colombia in 2019, according to the National Health Institute. There is a growing trend year after year.

 Permanent treatment

When a patient starts antiretroviral treatment, he must continue it for the rest of his life, because stopping it leads to the deterioration of health and the creation of resistance. There is also a pre-exposure prophylactic treatment, which prevents people who are exposed to the virus from being infected.

80 % (approximately) of the antiviral molecules available for HIV treatment worldwide are usually included in health plans.

90-90-90 Is the goal of UNAIDS to contribute to the end of the epidemic. It aims for 90% of people with HIV to know their status, receive continued therapy, and have viral suppression.

Covid-19 Precautions

  • Patients with HIV may have lower defenses, so they are more likely to contract any virus.
  • They are recommended to be strict with all biosafety measures and avoid crowds.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes the body stronger and better able to respond to Covid-19.