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According to the Ministry of Health, in Brazil, 92% of people infected with HIV have already reached the undetectable stage, that is, they do not transmit the virus and manage to maintain quality of life, without the manifestation of AIDS symptoms.
According to infectologist Tassiana Rodrigues Galvão, who works at the State Hospital Francisco Morato and Municipal of Cajamar, both managed by CEJAM, in recent years, treatments have had very relevant evolutions.
“Nowadays, a person who is diagnosed at a calmer period of the disease and uses the medication correctly has the same life expectancy as a person without the virus,” said Tassiana.
The doctor says that some population studies indicate that HIV-positive men, who are treated correctly, can live even longer than others without the disease.
“This happens because, in the routine of patients living with HIV, there are frequent visits to the doctor, in addition to tests that must be done every six months. When we assess, for example, the male population between 40 and 50 years old, who normally only seek care to find out something when they already have many symptoms, the follow-up ends up being a positive point”, says the specialist.
In addition to offering the most advanced treatments available, SUS also makes available to the population advanced prevention strategies and technologies, such as PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a combination of antiretroviral drugs that considerably reduce the chances of infection.
Its use expands access to early diagnosis and specific actions for key populations, such as sex workers, couples with different serologies, men who have sex with other men and may have more intense exposure, population deprived of liberty and alcohol and other substances users.
Dr. Tassiana explains that, in addition to those mentioned, PrEP is indicated for people who make constant use of PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), which is the combination of two medications administered over 28 days in people who had some exposure considered to be at risk , such as health professionals who have an accident with an unknown source or HIV-positive patients, victims of sexual violence, unprotected casual relationships or even when the condom breaks. Its use must be started within 72 hours of the incident.
“If you have an active sex life, do not have a steady partner or partner and have occasional relationships with people you do not know the serology for, it is necessary to use a condom, find out about PrEP and, in case there is any failure regarding condoms, seek PEP within 72 hours.”, says Dr.Tassiana.
The doctor draws attention to the importance of testing, which can be done at any Basic Health Unit or during prevention campaigns. “It is important to talk about sexual health, seek care with a good general practitioner or even an infectious disease specialist. Prevention is the most important focus.”
Dr. Tassiana emphasizes that, unlike the time it emerged, HIV is not a death sentence. “People who live with the virus and are treated correctly can lead a normal and healthy life, including relating to people who do not have the infection.”
This type of relationship is called a serodifferent relationship — when only one of the people has HIV.
“It’s a super possible relationship thanks to the possibility of PrEP, which can be used by the negative patient continuously. In addition, a person who has the virus but has an undetectable viral load for more than six months, following the correct treatment, does not transmit. Many couples live for years, even with the option of using or not using a condom”, she explains.
In these cases, however, it is necessary to consult a specialist to follow up on the case. “Nowadays, thanks to the treatments and prophylaxis carried out at the time of childbirth, it is possible for an HIV-positive woman to get pregnant normally without transmitting the virus to the baby”, concludes the doctor.”