Red December: all together in the fight against HIV

In December, the awareness ribbon is red. The month marks the fight against AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, known as STIs. In this fight, information is essential. In addition to knowing the disease and its forms of transmission, it is important to share information throughout the year, on how to prevent it and give support for people with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus.

Throughout the text, you will find the main aspects about this infectious agent and how its action in our organism can lead to the development of AIDS. Lets go?

What is HIV?

HIV is a retrovirus that attacks the immune system, infects and alters the function of lymphocytes, the body’s protective cells. They organize our immune response and prevent us from becoming more susceptible to other diseases. With the alteration of the DNA of these cells, the vírus increases its multiplication capacity. Thus, the infection spreads throughout the body.

It is also important to know that HIV is not synonym for AIDS. All over the world, there are people who live with the virus without developing the disease. However it remains transmissible. HIV is spread only through the exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.

Day-to-day interactions, such as hugging, kissing and sharing objects, do not transmit the virus or AIDS. Raising awareness of friends, family and the population about this is a way to reduce prejudice against those who deal directly with HIV.

What are the preventive measures?

About prevention, there are strategies to prevent infection and strategies to prevent the virus from evolving to AIDS. In general, using condoms in all sexual relations is the main measure against HIV transmission. Never share syringes, needles and other sharp objects is also a necessary measure.

In case of exposure to risky situations, it is recommended get examed for a correct diagnose. The exam is simple and can be done by anyone. It is mandatory for pregnant women at the beginning of prenatal care. If the result is positive, it is possible to start a treatment that prevents the virus of being transmitted to the baby throughout pregnancy and at the delivery.

In 1980, the first antiretroviral drugs appeared, which inhibit the multiplication of the virus. The evolution of medicines has made AIDS, which before was almost always fatal, become a controllable condition. Although there is no cure, research with high technology, which is the basis for our work, continues to be carried out to change this scenario.

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