To avoid health complications that may escalate due to increased COVID-19 and influenza infections this winter season, it is important that people with HIV / AIDS maintain adherence to medical treatment and adequately and periodically monitor their status. health of your immune system.
“Within the framework of World AIDS Day and in the context of the COVID-19 and influenza pandemic, it must be remembered that people with HIV are at higher risk of complications. The highest risk is for people who have low CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte counts and are resistant to antiretrovirals.”Said Rodrigo Pestana Lopes, PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and leader for Medical and Scientific Affairs for Latin America at Becton Dickinson (BD).
HIV is one of the biggest problems for global public health and since its appearance in the 1980s has caused 36.3 million deaths worldwide. In Mexico, from 1989 to 2021 a total of 322 thousand 987 cases of HIV have been registered. Of these, 6,568 were diagnosed in the first seven months of this year. In 2020 there were 9,674 positive registrations and in 2019, 17,275. In 2019 there were 5,281 deaths from complications caused by HIV.
So far there is no cure for HIV infection, therefore, access to information, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and medical follow-up are the most valuable tools to preserve the health and quality of life of people living with the virus.
“Once the diagnosis is made, antiretrovirals are generally prescribed to help prolong life and reduce the risk of transmission. You have to stick to the treatment; otherwise, there is a risk of developing resistance to antiretrovirals, which affects more than 10% of patients who start antiretroviral therapy, according to WHO ”, added Pestana Lopes.
Resistance to antiretrovirals consists of the ability of HIV to mutate and reproduce in the presence of these drugs and is a consequence of lack of adherence to treatment, inappropriate use of drugs, and variations in their pharmacokinetics.
“You also have to pay attention to the CD4 and CD8 lymphocyte count in the blood. This allows us to know the immunological status of the patient, alerts us to the risk of opportunistic infections and provides information for monitoring the patient and making decisions about medical treatment ”, he added.
Pestana Lopes recalled that resistance to antiretrovirals harms the health of patients, limits their treatment options and causes a negative impact on health systems due to the cost of care for opportunistic diseases that may arise.
“On World AIDS Day, BD expresses its concern for the health and quality of life of people with HIV, while encourages them to learn about the infection and the alternatives to preserve their health and improve their quality of life”Added Pestana Lopes.
Finally, it should be noted that in 2019, in the framework of the 10th IAS Conference on HIV Science, Mexico adopted a global commitment to eliminate the barriers that discourage people from undergoing HIV tests, that delay the start of treatment and prevent achieve sustained viral suppression that includes guarantees of integrated, inclusive and professional health services.