December 1, World AIDS Day

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“Subsequent decisions have held that AIDS is protected as a handicap under law, not only because of the physical limitations it imposes, but because the prejudice surrounding AIDS exacts a social death which precede… which precedes the physical one”. To say this quotes was Andrew Beckett, the protagonist of the Philadelphia movie, played by Tom Hanks.The film dates back to 1993, the period when the peak of the contagion was reached. Today, there has been a 39% decrease compared to the 1990s. But the problem and probably the injury are still present. And that’s why after 39 years of its establishment, the first day of December is still the World AIDS Day, created by the World Health Organization and then owned by UNAIDS, the United Nations Agency for the Fight against Aids.It is estimated that in 2016 alone, 1.8 million people have been infected all over the world. In Sub­Saharan Africa, new infections have decreased by 48% since 2000.

However, the spread of the virushas increased in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Countries where the number of people who contracted the infection has increased by 60% since 2000 and the AIDS­related deaths of 27%. The virus spreads mainly through sexual (ether and non­sexual) relationships and the use of infectious syringes by drug addicts.In short, after 39 years, we must continue to talk about it, not only because knowledge alone can prevent contagion. But above all to annihilate the prejudice. Already because in this case it is a mixture of misinformation, fear and ignorance.The goal of the World AIDS Day was to raise public awareness of this infection that in 1987 was deadly.Over time, research has won many battles against the HIV virus, but war is not over. Nowadays, thesick are cared for and living for a long time, but many people, especially the younger, and even the younger, continue to be infected.This year’s theme is “Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability and Partnership”.But not all the first December, after World Day, will take over an international campaign titled “Let’s end it. End Isolation. End stigma. End transmissions”.

In 2017, victims of HIV infection are mainly people around the age of 50, according to research published last September on the British Medical Journal.According to the British magazine, there would be an increase of 2% in this age group, while the rate would remain stable among the younger. in Italy the situation is similar. Contagion occurs predominantly through sexual, heterosexual and homosexual relationships in the same way. According to Coa’s report, the Aids Operating Center, cases reported last year in Italy were 3451,

but it is likely that they will be added to others due to late delays.This would mean 5.7 new cases of HIV infection every 100,000 people who place Italy at thirteen, with Greece in the list of European countries. In the head for the contagion in our country there are Regions such as Lazio, Tuscany, Piedmont.Access to antiviral treatment in the world has drastically increased, according to the latest Unaids report. In fact, almost 21 million people are currently receiving treatment through antiviral drugs, while they were only 685,000 in 2000. And at least 7 out of ten women infected with the virus receive medicines, which is why maternal­fetal transmission is remarkably high reduced. In 2016, globally in the world, there were 20.9 million people living with the AIDS virus and 1.8 million people who were infected in the same year.

Another import target is PrEP, ie pre­exposure prophylaxis, and involves the administration of two antivirals, tenofovir and emtricitabine, one tablet per day.PrEP works in over 90% of cases (70% in drug addicts).But beware: this is not an alternative to the condom, which does not protect it from the HIV, but also from other sexually transmitted infections.In short, the subject is still very important to the point that Apple has managed to raise over $ 30 million with the RED campaign to fight Aids in support of the Global Fund, the equivalent of 144 million days of antiretroviral drugs that prevent the transmission of HIV virus from mother to child during pregnancy.Over the past 11 years, Apple has donated more than $ 160 million to the Global Fund, contributingto “providing the equivalent of 475 million days of lifesaving drugs”. And on the occasion of the recurrence, there are several awareness­raising initiatives launched by Apple. From the first to the 8th of December, the App Store will host the “Today” stories and testimonies section, while over 400 stores of the World Cup cluster will dress red until December 7th. For one week for any Apple Pay transaction, the company will make a one­dollar donation to RED.

Throughout the year, Apple will donate to the Fund a portion of its revenue from the sale of “Red” products.Research, in short, goes on. We continue to study new drugs and especially preventative drugs. A study in sub­Saharan Africa is underway to assess whether long­term injectable cabotegravir is able to prevent infection in sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 45. The main problem to be solved is always the same: the ability to permanently eliminate the virus from the body. If you stop the therapy, in fact, the virus re­emerges from its “sanctuaries” where it remains hidden. In this sense, immunological therapies could be assisted with the goal of activating immune system cells capable of “reaching” the virus. Or even manipulating the DNA of the cells infected by the virus

with the new techniques of “size and sewing”. Utopia? We can not know.I’m not a doctor but a journalist and the only virus I can try to debunk is that of misinformation. It was 37 years since October 2, 1985, when Rock Hudson was killed by AIDS. He was the first famous character, hit by HIV infection, to publicize his illness. He was the first, not the only one. After him are dead Aids Freddie Mercury, Rudolf Nureyev, Isaac Asimov, Michael Foucault, Arthur Ashe, actor Anthony Perkins and many more. The choice of Rock Hudson, however, was themost courageous because it contributed to reducing the stigma that in the 1980s and 90s was associated with AIDS and partly its homosexuality. As Morgan Fairchild said, “With his coming out, Rock has given a face to all Aids sufferers.”

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