Red December: prevention and advances in medicine against AIDS

Red December: prevention and advances in medicine against AIDS

December is the key month of AIDS prevention campaigns. This disease, which affects more than 40 million people worldwide, has been systematically combated by medicine with treatments and prevention increasingly advanced.

To remember the importance of avoiding contracting the virus in the first place, the month of December was chosen to raise awareness. The red ribbon, symbol of the fight against HIV, can be seen in various institutions and campaigns over that period.

Therefore, we have prepared this post to clarify the main questions about the Red December and talk about the medical advances regarding prevention and treatment of AIDS. Check out!

What is the Red December campaign?

In 1987 the World Health Assembly, with the support of the United Nations, set December as the official month of solidarity, compassion and understanding for people infected with the HIV virus.

This month, in addition to reinforcing the importance of prevention and treatment, also serves to raise awareness in order to reduce intolerance and prejudice against the disease. Therefore, the red bow is used by celebrities and authorities around the world for the cause.

What is HIV / AIDS?

HIV is a virus that affects the entire immune system of those who are infected by it. It acts by decreasing and weakening the activity of white blood cells, making the person susceptible to attack by other diseases . That is, a person who is with high rates of HIV in the body runs the risk of dying by having even a simple cold.

This virus is spread by contact with body fluids such as semen, saliva, blood, vaginal fluid, breast milk. Therefore, much of the prevention campaigns reinforce the importance of using condoms in all sexual relations, including oral sex.

AIDS, therefore, is the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, caused by HIV. To understand just a simple comparison: the flu is the name of the disease (as in the case of AIDS), influenza is the virus name (in this case the HIV virus).

One of the biggest dangers of the disease is the lack of symptoms for a long period after infection. In the first weeks after contraction appear sores in the mouth and / or genitals, followed by a rash of the trunk. These symptoms usually disappear quickly, between one and two weeks.

After that, the virus can enter a state of latency by up to 20 years. The symptoms that occur when AIDS is already established include:

  • headaches;
  • skin tumors;
  • chronic diarrhea;
  • digestion problems;
  • breathing problems.

The diagnosis is based on the T lymphocyte counts in blood: if less than 200 cells per microlitre of blood, then there is a good chance of the person being infected with HIV. In general, also notes the development of other diseases such as candidiasis and pneumocystis to check the progress of the syndrome.

How to prevent contagion?

Preventing AIDS is often focused on the use of condoms in all sexual relations. Although prevent various diseases and be a form of contraception, condoms are not always used optimally or in all sexual relations, as is desirable.

Moreover, it is important to avoid the use of shared syringes, whatever the purpose of use. It is also recommended to avoid splitting the use of razors, blades or any object that can direct contact with blood.

Mothers who are HIV-positive should also avoid breastfeeding, having the right to use milk from milk banks or food alternatives for babies. Pregnant women should be monitoring of pregnancy with an infectious disease physician to ensure that the baby will not be contaminated.

Practices such as sharing glasses, cutlery, cigarettes or exchange kisses offer no risk of contagion. In the case of the kiss, there must be deep bruises and bleeding in the mouth to occur infection. While the HIV virus is present in saliva, it is neutralized by the acid and by substances in the mouth.

How the treatment?

Once a person is diagnosed as having AIDS or HIV, it should start treatment immediately always accompanied by an infectious disease. Treatment is multidisciplinary and may include various tests and procedures.

an assessment of the health status of the patient and development of the virus is made to determine the doses of drugs that will be needed. From there starts the monitoring of the disease. It is important that the patient take their medications correctly, in order to prevent the virus acquires resistance.

The sooner the infection is detected, the better. Initiation of treatment still in the early stages ensures greater longevity and better quality of life to the patient. Clinical and laboratory tests and regular healthy lifestyle contribute to the maintenance of health for a long time.

What is PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)?

PEP is a retroviral therapy lasts about 28 days after infection and, if done correctly, prevents survival and multiplication of HIV in people who may have been contaminated. According to the Ministry of Health, the PEP is applicable in the following cases:

  • sexual assault;
  • unprotected sex (without a condom or break it);
  • occupational accidents (with spiked or sharp objects that have been with biological material).

This emergency treatment must be prescribed by a doctor, who will assess the need for other medications. The first service should be performed within 72 hours of possible contamination. After that, the result can be compromised.

It is also important to follow strictly the instructions and perform medical monitoring during the treatment period. The PEP can be requested for free at any hospital or basic unit of SUS health, and is considered a breakthrough in the prevention and treatment of AIDS.

What are the advances in medicine?

Despite the HIV virus is very difficult to study and AIDS still has no cure, many authorities on the subject believe that soon there will be progress in this direction.

The virus spreads directly in the genetic material of the patient, making all the cells infected breeding HIV own. That is, you can not directly attack the virus, but the discovery of how HIV replicates and functions in the human body was a significant advance, as well as medicines for immediate prevention.

Since the discovery of HIV, science has advanced tremendously in the treatment and prophylaxis which are increasingly efficient and affordable.

The campaign Red December is not just about prevention, it is about understanding that people with the virus also has the right to life in society without suffering prejudice or limitations. Finding out about the disease and help people who have been infected with tolerance and compassion is very important!

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