Unknowingly, nearly 6 million people are living with HIV worldwide

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In this Wednesday’s (1) edition of the Medical Correspondent chart, on the New Day, neurosurgeon Fernando Gomes commented on the World Day to Combat AIDS, celebrated around the world, and the difficulties faced by patients with the disease that left 690,000 killed in 2020.

A survey by UNAIDS, the United Nations program against AIDS, shows that 37.5 million people around the world are living with the HIV virus – the first stage of the infection, which should not be confused with the disease itself. Of these, nearly 6 million do not know they are carriers.

According to Gomes, one of the main causes for the lack of diagnosis is prejudice, which reduces the rate of testing worldwide. The measure, according to him, is essential to guarantee an effective treatment and to control the evolution of symptoms in the long term. “The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better for your health and for the people you relate to.”

“It’s no use running away, we need to face the situation, to quickly establish a treatment and transform this from a potentially serious thing, which can take people’s lives, into a chronic issue that can be handled more smoothly with medications”, he completed.

The neurosurgeon also demystified one of the main stigmas related to AIDS, which has victimized about 35 million people around the world since the beginning of the epidemic, in the 1980s: that a diagnosis of HIV positive equals a death sentence. “That’s not true these days. Despite having been dealing with the problem for 40 years, the beginning of it was something that drew a lot of attention, it caused a lot of fear”, he said.

According to the doctor, education is one of the factors that can help in the clinical evolution of patients, avoiding the possibility of death. “[Sem tratamento] you can quickly get into the question of the clinical manifestation of the disease. Sometimes, it seems that the brain itself, when it has a diagnosis like that, falls into a situation of great sadness. And we know that this impacts on the functioning of the immune system.”

“Once we understand the size of the problem and the challenge, everything becomes easier. Everyone in society can and should talk about AIDS. It’s not a death sentence, it’s a situation that causes you to have a healthier lifestyle. You need to take the medication correctly, follow up properly, and [Sistema Único de Saúde] SUS offers this in a very elegant and helpful way for everyone”, he concluded.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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