Living10 questions about AIDS

10 questions about AIDS

Since AIDS was isolated and purified in 1984 by the scientists Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnie , it has become one of the most well-known pathologies in the world and more time and effort is devoted to research. Its history is considered to begin three years earlier (1981), when the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm about numerous cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and Kaposi’s sarcoma. The strangest thing is that all the subjects who suffered from it showed very low levels of TCD4 + lymphocytes , part of the immune system. It would not be until 1982 when this situation would be baptized as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ( AIDS for its acronym in English).

Although in many cases it is treated as if they were the same, there is a difference between HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The first of them refers to the virus itself, which affects the cells of the immune system and makes infected people much more prone to suffering from diseases as they worsen. You can be infected with HIV and yet show no symptoms. On the other hand, we speak of AIDS when HIV infection is in its most advanced stage and the immune system has suffered a very serious deterioration. This weakness in the body’s defenses causes diseases like tuberculosis or pneumonia to quickly become complicated.

There are three ways in which HIV is contagious : sexually, through the bloodstream (through contaminated blood transfusions or by sharing contaminated needles, syringes or sharp objects) or through mother-infant during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding . There are numerous forms of prevention such as the use of condoms, avoiding sharing needles or syringes, doing blood tests or taking pre-exposure prophylaxis that have been highly effective in preventing infection. In cases where it has already occurred, there are antiretroviral treatments that prevent the spread of the virus and reduce its effects on the immune system.

Despite all the advances that have been made in treatment and the greater access to them, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus continues to affect more than 35 million people around the world and causes the death of about 2 million annually. In order to continue raising awareness in society of the risks of HIV and AIDS, we answer ten of the big questions about this disease .


Video: Debate on HIV and AIDS: how to combat stigma and improve prevention


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